The French phrase "Quoi de neuf" revealed

We are going to teach you everything you ever wanted to know about the basic French expression “Quoi de neuf”.

To be more precise, it includes a detailed explanation of what it is and how to use it in a normal conversation with an audio example. And also the cool stuff we added like dialogue example, slow pronunciation audio, synonyms and more!

In case you are interested, you will find more expressions explained like this one on this page and the directory of all our French words guides on this page. Ready to learn? Let’s go!

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English translation

Pronunciation

Slow pronunciation

Normal pronunciation

What does it mean exactly?

Definition

“Quoi de neuf ?” is a popular French expression used to say “What’s up?“. It literally means “What’s new?

It can be used in two different ways…

How to use

First, you can use it with someone you haven’t met for a long time, to ask for a little recap of what happened since the last time you met.

In this case, it’s very useful as a conversation filler after the usual greetings or when you don’t know what to say anymore… For that, simply ask “Quoi de neuf ?” in the middle of the conversation.

But it can also be used to start a conversation. In this case it has the informal meaning of “How are you?“. So it’s common to hear a French conversation going like:

  • Quoi de neuf ? → How are you?
  • Ça va, et toi ? → I’m fine, and you?
  • Ça va → I’m fine

Because here, you aren’t really asked to talk about what’s “up” in your life…

Fun fact

You might find on internet that this expression literally means “What’s nine?” which is totally wrong.

The confusion comes from the fact that, depending on the context, the French word “Neuf” can mean “Nine” or “New“.

But with “Quoi de neuf ?“, it’s 100% sure “New“. So don’t believe any other explanation.

Synonyms

  • Quoi de nouveau ? → What’s up? (Literally: What’s new?)
  • Quoi de beau ? → What’s up? (Literally: What’s beautiful?)
  • Quelles sont les nouvelles ? → What are the news? (Formal)
  • Comment ça va ? → How are you?
  • Ça va ? → How are you?

Example in a story with English translation

Now, let’s see a complete example of this expression in a story with slow French audio and the English translation below.
Romance en vacances
Romance on vacation
___
Ellen était de retour à Paris après ses vacances dans le sud de la France.
Ellen was back in Paris after her vacation in the south of France.
Elle appela Joe pour l’inviter à boire un verre.
She called Joe to invite him for a drink.
Quand ils se rencontrèrent, Joe remarqua qu’elle avait l’air heureuse et en bonne forme.
When they met, Joe noticed that she looked happy and in good shape.
Et très bronzée !
And very tanned!
Ellen:   Je suis tellement heureuse de te voir !
I am so happy to see you!
Joe:   Moi aussi ! Alors,
quoi de neufLiterally: What’s new?
?
Me too! So, what’s up?
Puis Ellen commença à raconter ses aventures…
Then Ellen started to tell her adventures…
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