The French word "Bonsoir" explained

Ready to find out everything you ever wanted to know about the basic word “Bonsoir”?

Are included a full definition of what it is and how to use it in a normal conversation with an audio example. And because we care about you, we also sprinkled useful stuff like dialogue example, slow pronunciation audio and more!

In case you are interested, you can find more of these words explained on this page and the ultimate list of all our French words tutorials on this page. Have fun!

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Translation in English

How to pronounce it?

Slow pronunciation

Normal pronunciation

What does bonsoir mean?

Definition

“Bonsoir” is the common way to say “Good evening” in French.

It’s literally made of two parts:

  • bon- → good-
  • -soir → -evening

And it shouldn’t be confused with “Bonne soirée” which is used differently (example below…)

How to use

As you probably know, when you meet someone, the common way to say “Hello” in French is “Bonjour“. But after a certain time of the day (around the sunset) you should use instead “Bonsoir” (Good evening).

But be careful, “Bonne soirée” isn’t a synonym for “Bonsoir“. It means “I wish you a good evening” and then you should use it when you are saying bye to someone in the evening.

Also, if it’s very late or if the person mentioned that he/she is going to sleep, you can add “Bonne nuit” (Good night)

Summary:

  • Bonsoir, ça va ? → Good evening, how are you?
  • Bonsoir, ça va et toi ? → Good evening, I’m fine and you?
  • Bien. Mais je suis fatigué(e). Je vais me coucher. → Good. But I’m tired. I’m going to sleep.
  • Bonne nuit. → Good night.
  • Merci et bonne soirée. → Thanks and (I wish you a) good evening.

Example in a story with slow audio

Now, let’s see a complete example of this word in a story with slow French audio and the English translation below.
La question de papa
Dad's question
___
Les parents de Philippe ont décidé de l’inviter Emily et lui pour un dîner en famille.
Philippe’s parents decided to invite Emily and him for a family dinner.
Emily avait déjà rencontré les parents de Philippe auparavant.
Emily had already met Philippe’s parents before.
Et elle s’entendait aussi très bien avec la petite soeur de Philippe : Zoé.
And she also got along very well with Philippe’s little sister: Zoé.
Zoé adorait passer du temps avec Emily…
Zoé loved spending time with Emily…
Mais même si Emily était déjà familière avec la famille de Philippe, elle était très nerveuse…
But even if Emily was already familiar with the family of Philippe, she was very nervous…
Ils ont acheté quelques desserts et sont partis chez les parents de Philippe.
They bought some desserts and went to Philippe’s parents.
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