Normally it should be vous avez besoin de ... , monsieur.

But is it possible to say tu as besoin de ... , monsieur in any context without being rude to the other person or without being considered uneducated? Does it make a difference for 'madame' or 'mademoiselle' ?

1 Answer 1


It is not acceptable at all. Those civility titles imply respect, distance and always a minimum of formality ; the use of the second person singular, which reflects always a certain degree of familiarity with which the two persons treat one another, is incompatible with the terms of address "madame", "mademoiselle" and "monsieur".
However, someone unaware of this fact can safely err and use the second person singular as well as one of those terms; there is nothing rude implied, no insult; people usually understand that the person given to such usage has not yet become conscious of this convention. The failure to abide by this principle is characteristic only of people of origin other than French.

  • I wonder how much of this "convention" applies to Francophones who are not from France. I'm thinking of Francophones from Belgium Quebec and Africa where saying tu connotes differently than it does in France.
    – None
    Commented Aug 15, 2021 at 7:16
  • @None I don't have the least idea about that except that given the fact that those ethnic groups, presumably cognizant with French culture since they learn its language, should, it seems, be aware of it. I think there is no such question to be ask in the case of European countries (Belgium, Switzerland) and Canada; I am thinking rather of Africa, the West Indies, Tahiti, Madagascar, …
    – LPH
    Commented Aug 15, 2021 at 7:30
  • Vouvoiement et tutoiement (BDL). Sommaire et pas sur le français, mais tout de même : lien. Et plus. Mais encore. Ou aussi. Je pense qu'il y a davantage à dire là-dessus. Commented Aug 15, 2021 at 9:40
  • 2
    @LPH I strongly doubt that all native Quebecers, Bruxellois or of the Central African Republic (to name only a few) will use or even be aware of the culture of France when using & speaking what is to them native French. They learn whatever cultural habits predominate in their own countries first.
    – None
    Commented Aug 15, 2021 at 11:33
  • 3
    @Xfce4 I've very often heard young children mix tu and Monsieur or Madame or Maîtresse or Maître . Quite normal before they learn the rules in a formal way. That's for France.
    – None
    Commented Aug 15, 2021 at 17:49

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