Merci de bien vouloir y répondre d’ici le 8 juin.

Merci de bien vouloir y répondre d’ici le 8 juin.

mare-seed byaa voo-lwaa ree ray-paw-druh dee-see luh wee ZHWAA. Click below to hear this.

Please reply by June 8.

Well, that’s how we English-speakers say it, anyway! We have a reputation for straight talk, sometimes to the detriment of politeness. Not so the French. Their rep is bending over backward with flowery phrases in an effort to maintain a high level of civility.

So what exactly does the French say here? Thank you for being so kind as to reply to it by June 8. Piece by piece:

Merci de followed by a verb in the infinitive: not “merci pour”.

vouloir bien: to be so kind as to, to be willing to. Sometimes, as here, transposed to bien vouloir. See also this post for more about vouloir bien.

y: As in yesterday’s post, y replaces à + a noun, such as lettre, invitation and so on.

d’ici le: This is the most fun of all. The way English handles expressions containing dates, we say by or before June 8. In French, the literal meaning is from here to June 8, so it really conveys the idea of between now and June 8. So if something needs to be done by a certain date, say d’ici le….

le 8 juin: Except for the first of the month, dates are always expressed by the cardinal number (8, 3, 27) rather than the ordinal number (8th, 3rd, 27th).

Now you’re ready to ask someone to RSVP! Let’s hope they observe the same politeness by doing so.

Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry.

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