Language and culture For Members

Eight phrases to help you emphatically agree like the French

The Local France
The Local France - [email protected]
Eight phrases to help you emphatically agree like the French
There are more words available once you've mastered 'oui'. Photo: Audrey-Anne Godin/ 500px

Find yourself perfectly in tune with a French person? Here's how to show that you are very definitely in agreement.


We've covered how to complain and disagree in French - and even how to start hurling abuse if things get very out of hand - but what about more harmonious conversations?

Unfortunately for any stiff-upper-lip Brits among our readers, a reserved 'quite right, old boy' isn't going to cut it when agreeing with someone in France. If you are in tune with their views, sympathies or news, you need to be able to agree and emphatically too.

READ ALSO The nine best French insults, for use when you're very, very cross

Ben, ouais

OK, so obviously oui is the French word for yes and that would be the appropriate response if you are asked a simple question, particularly by someone you don't know. So if the shop assistant asks Avez-vous une carte de fidélité? (Do you have a loyalty card?) a simple oui will be fine.

If you want something more casual though you could say ouais, which roughly translates as 'yeah' and to really make you sound local add a ben.

You will hear this all the time in day-to-day conversation among the French, but you might not recognize it written down as it's generally pronounced baa or sometimes baaaaaa (think General Melchett in Blackadder). The ben acts as a 'well' or 'er' in some conversations. 

Et tu sais à quelle heure est revenu ton frère? - Ben, j'en sais rien. - And do you know what time your brother got home? - Er, I don't know anything.

But it can also be used to turn a simple yes into a more emphatic 'of course' or 'too right'.

Et tu vas à l'anniversaire de Pascal samedi? - Ben ouais! - And you're coming to Pascal's birthday on Saturday? - Of course!


This is a contracted version of the more formal je suis en accord - I agree. It's sometimes translated into English as OK, although in reality the French use OK just as much as English-speakers do. It's a casual way of agreeing either with something or to do something and would be used among friends.
So you might say D'accord, je viendrai à la fête demain - OK, I'll come to the party tomorrow.
It's also often used as well as OK - OK, d'accord, j'arrive - OK, OK, I'm coming.
And you can use it to explain that you are in agreement - Nous sommes d'accord - we all agree.
You will also hear it frequently being shortened to d'acc, for when two syllables are just too much.

READ ALSO How to complain like the French


If you want to notch your levels of agreement up a bit, this will show just how enthused you are by what someone is saying to you. Exactement means exactly and is often shortened to exact.

Je pense que toutes les personnes qui se plaignent du logo olympique de Paris ne devraient pas en faire tout en plat. - Oui! Exact! - I think that all the people complaining about the Paris Olympics logo need to just lighten up. Yes! Exactly!

Not everybody is a fan of the Paris 2024 Olympics logo. Photo: AFP


In a similar vein to exact is absolument - absolutely.

Audrey Tautou est très belle, n'est-ce pas? Absolument! - Audrey Tautou is beautiful, isn't she? Absolutely!


And similar again but probably the strongest of the three is carrément.

It comes from the word for square (the concept of mètre carré - square meters - will be familiar to anyone who has been through apartment hunting in France) so technically it means squarely, but really it translates into English as really, completely or absolutely.

As with exactement and absolument you can use it in the middle of a sentence - Ils ont carrément ruiné notre moment romantique - They totally ruined our romantic moment.

But you can also use it as an enthusiastic positive.

Tu vas vraiment l'inviter à ta fête? Carrément!  - Are you really going to invite her to your party? Absolutely!


Tu as raison

This means you are right and is commonly used as a way of agreeing with someone.

Tu as raison, je l'ai fait parce que j'étais très en colère. Je le regrette maintenant - You're right, I only did it because I was so angry. I regret it now.

This one can be used informally for chats with friends, but is also perfectly acceptable in more formal situations.

So if you're a bit of a kiss-ass, you could tell your boss Vous avez raison, toute notre stratégie doit être repensée - You're right, our whole strategy needs rethinking.

This can also be combined with some other affirmatives to make it really clear that you agree - Tu as absolument raison - you're absolutely right 

Vous avez parfaitement raison - You're perfectly right.

C'est normal

This means what you would expect - that's normal - but in French is more commonly used as an agreement than you would use it in English.

Je suis si fatiguée depuis que je suis maman - Ah, ben oui, c'est normal - I'm so tired since I became a mum. - Ah yes, that's to be expected.

Mes mains tremblent après l'accident. - Le choc, oui, c'est normal - My hands are shaking after the accident. The shock, yes, that's normal.

C'est logique

Again, this translates as you would expect - that's logical - but while in English few non-Vulcans would drop that into everyday conversation, in French it's a common way of letting somebody know that you agree with them. It's really better translated as 'that makes sense' or 'good point'.

Je préfère conduire parce que les trains ne sont pas fiables. - Ah, oui, c'est logique. - I prefer to drive because the trains are so unreliable. - Yeah, that makes sense.

Il fait vraiment froid dans ce bureau - C'est logique, la fenêtre est ouverte, Olivier. - It is really cold in this office. Good point, Olivier, the window is open. 







Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

Anonymous 2019/10/26 13:37
A good one I learned was to use "de chez" with your favorite gros mots.<br /><br />Merde de chez merde--shit from the shit; shit itself(?); really shitty.<br /><br />You get the idea.<br /><br />Cul de chez cul<br /><br />Putain de chez putain

See Also