Discover the French phrase "Bon courage"

Get prepared to find out all the things you need to know about the basic phrase “Bon courage”.

This include a detailed guide of what it is and how you can use it in a dialogue with an audio example. Along with the useful things we added like dialogue example, slow pronunciation audio and more!

In addition, you will find our others phrases explained on this page and the directory of all our French words pages on this page. Happy learning!

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Translation in English

How to pronounce it

Slow pronunciation

Normal pronunciation

What does bon courage mean?


The closest meaning in English is “Hang in there” or “You can do it” or “Be strong“. But we often see it translated as “Good luck” which is making people confusing it with “Bonne chance” (The actual way to say “Good luck” in French).

They are similar, but yet quite different: “Bon courage” is something you say to offer support before (or during) a test, an exam or any laborious task. It means that the success of this task depends on how hard the person is working and not giving up.

While “Bonne chance” (Good luck) is something you wish to someone when luck is involved or when the success of the task relies on external factors. In short: when it doesn’t depend on work/courage, or just partially.

Let’s see some examples on how to use both of them!

How to use it

A friend of yours is having an important exam next week, then you wish her “Bon courage !“. Because her success depends on how hard she will work during the days to come and how much she will do her best during the exam.

The next week, your friend tells you she failed the exam, quit studying and then decided to play the lottery. This time, you wish her “Bonne chance !” because her success depends purely on luck and has nothing to do with courage/work.

Synonyms and similarities

  • Courage ! (“Courage!“)
  • Soit fort(e) ! (“Be strong!“)
  • Tu peux le faire ! (“You can do it!“)
  • (Similar yet different) Bonne chance. (“Good luck“)

Example in a story with translation

Now, let’s see a complete example of this idiom in a story with slow French audio and the English translation below.
Compter en français.
Count in French.
Apprenons comment compter en Français !
Let’s learn how to count in French!
Pour commencer, on va compter de 1 à 10…
To start, we will count from 1 to 10…
Un, deux, trois, quatre, cinq, six, sept, huit, neuf, dix.
One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten.
Facile, non ? Maintenant, jusqu’à 20.
Easy, right? Now until 20.
Onze, douze, treize, quatorze, quinze, seize…
Eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, sixteen…
Puis on dit “dix” et on ajoute le chiffre des unités : “dix-sept, dix-huit, dix-neuf”.
Then we say “ten” and add the ones digit: “ten-seven, ten-eight, ten-nine”. (literally)
Ensuite c’est “vingt”. Attention, on ne prononce pas le “g” et le “t”.
Then it’s “twenty”. Be careful, we don’t pronounce the “g” and the “t”.
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