Je vous suis bien reconnaissante.

Je vous suis bien reconnaissante.

zhuh voo swee byaa ruh-kuh-nay-saht. Click below to hear this.*

I’m very grateful to you.

Giving thanks in French is tricky. The language doesn’t work like English. Of course, you can always squeal Merci! Merci! Merci! But if you need to be more formal, here’s what you do:

Make a whole sentence. Use big words. Say vous, because it goes better with the kind of people you need to use full sentences with. The word for grateful is reconnaissant, so say that.

Reconnaissant comes from the verb reconnaître, to recognize. Think of it as being “recognitious” of something: a gift, a service, someone’s presence in your life.

Here’s the formula: Je vous suis (bien) reconnaissant(e), if you are speaking directly to the person you are thankful to. If you’re telling someone else about it, say Je suis (bien) reconnaissant(e) envers [insert person] de [insert good deed, gift, etc.] For example, Je suis bien reconnaissante envers mon mari de son aide avec mon projet.

Yesterday was Thanksgiving Day in the US. I hope you remembered to express your reconnaissance!

*Some mobile phones, such as Blackberries, won’t display the audio player. If no player appears, here’s an alternative link to the audio file:

je_vous_suis_bien_reconnaissante.mp3

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