Speaking a language isn’t just about the grammar and textbook phrases. Half the fun of a language is in the small, fun, and casual phrases you can share with native speakers and friends. Note, however, that the phrase “take care” is fairly recent in French, and is only used in conversational settings. Some French speakers won’t use it at all, arguing that it is an English phrase that is not needed when you have the catch-all French good-bye “au revoir.”
EditSaying “Take Care” In French
- Use “prends soin” to tell a close friend or relation to take care. This is the informal, singular way to say “take care” in French. As such, it is only useful for talking to one person who you are familiar with.
- Pronounced “pron swan.” It sounds bit like a stereotypical French accent saying the English name “Bronson.” Try to barely pronounce the final “n” sound in soin.
- Use “prenez soin” to tell multiple people or a formal acquaintance to take care. “Prenez” is the vous form of “prendre,” which means “to take.” The vous form is for second-person plural (“you all”) and for the formal tense (anyone you would call “sir, “ma’am,” “Mr,” or “Mrs”). You can use “prenez soin” just like you would use the English expression “take care:”
- Pronounced “pren-eh swan.” To be extra native sounding, you want a gravelly, guttural sound with the “n’ in prenez, like a stereotypical French accent.
- Add “bien” before “soin” to add positive emphasis. This is a simple and easy way to spice up your dialogue. Simply go from “prenez soin,” meaning “take care,” to “prenez bien soin,” meaning “take good care.” The change is subtle, but you can use it to mix up your phrases.
- “Bien” is pronounced bee-en
- Take care of someone or something with “prendre soin de.” The de allows you to add a person, place, or thing, changing the expression to “take care of ________.” For example, “prends soin de ma mère” means “take care of my mom.” You’ll need to conjugate prendre to make the phrase work, changing the verb depending on who you’re talking to. Though it is irregular, it is an easy conjugation:
- Je Prends
- Tu Prends
- Il/elle/on Prend
- Nous Prenons
- Vous Prenez
- Ils/Elles Prennent
- Use the full expression “take good care of yourself,” by conjugating the phrase “prendre bien soin de______.” Just like in English, this is the longer version of the full goodbye. You’ll need to conjugate the verb “prendre,” of course, to fit the subject of the person you’re talking, as well as the subject.
- Informal: “Prends bien soin de toi.” Translates literally as “take good care of yourself.”
- Formal or Plural: “Prenez bien soin de vous.” Translates literally as “take good care of yourself/yourselves.”
- Add “est-ce que” and a subject to ask if someone takes care. To convert “take care” into a question, simply add “est-ce que” and the subject. You end up with “Est-ce que tu prends (bien) soin de toi?” which translates to “Do you take (good) care of yourself?”
- Est-ce que is pronounced “es-suh-kuh.”
- You can also use inversion to ask questions in French: “prends-tu bien soin de toi?”
EditUsing Other Phrases
- Use “fais/faites attention” for a slightly more neutral “take care.” Translating literally as “watch/look out” or “take heed,” this phrase is a bit less friendly than “prends soin.” As such, it is a great way to say goodbye to acquaintances or to interchange with “prends soin” when you’re looking for new vocabulary. Fais is pronouced “fays,” and faites is pronounced “fehts.”
- Singular/Informal: Fais attention (à toi) → Look out (for yourself).
- Plural/Formal: Faites attention (à vous) → Look out (for yourself).
- “Fais attention!” is also used to warn people of danger, both in speech and on road signs.
- You do pronounce the “s” at the end of the first word, since “attention” starts with a vowel.
- Consider other expressions of well-wishing. If you’re saying “take care” to help someone get better or work through an issue or tough time, you have several other phrases at your disposal. Try out:
- Tout le meilleur (Too leh meh-uhr) → All the best
- Bonne chance (Bon shan-ce) → Good luck
- Avoir la bonne santé (Av-war leh bun san-teh) → Have good health
- Meilleurs vœux de la part de moi (Meh-uhr vo-eh de la par de mwa) → I send my best wishes.
- Use other expressions to say “see you later.“ If “take care” is how you sign off on a conversation, there are other options. Some similar phrases include:
- À bientôt (ah bee-en-toe) → See you soon
- À plus tard (ah ploo tar) → Until later (you can drop the “tard” for a less formal goodbye)
- Je m’en vais (je men vase) → I’m outta here
- Don’t use “prends/prenez soin” in formal letters. Because the expression is relatively new in French, it is still a little weird when it is used for letters, coming across as unprofessional and unlearned. Instead, use phrases like:
- Bien à toi (Bee-en ah twah) → Best wishes
- Amitiés (Ahm-ee-teh) → Sincerely, Kindest regards
- Avec beaucoup d’amour (Ah-vek bow-coo dam-or) → With lots of love
- Grosses bises(Gross beez) → With love and kisses
- Look up pronunciation online and listen in if you have problems. Listening to native speakers is often the best way to learn the language.
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EditSources and Citations
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How to Say Take Care in French
Source: How To Of The Day