s'il-vous-plaît / s'il-te-plaît

Discussion in 'French-English Vocabulary / Vocabulaire Français-Anglais' started by marthasvineyard, Jun 25, 2006.

  1. marthasvineyard New Member

    English, US
    I had a last question on si il vous plait and si il te pleit. I used si il vous pleit to my friend, and she said that since we know each other (but we are not close friends), I should use si il te pleit. Could I still use si il vous pleit to people I know anf to close friends to be polite?
  2. Francis Nugent Dixon Senior Member

    English - France
    Ah ! The old story of "tutoyer" and "vousvoyer" !

    "S'il vous plaît" is used for people you have never met before, or don't know well, or to be polite to someone older that you are or senior to you in some form.

    "S'il te plaît" is used within the family, to close (how close is difficult to define !) friends, and from adults to children.

    At some moment, the conversation will slip from "vous" to "tu", either by invitation, or just by "atomes crochu", which means "being on the same wavelength"

    Sometimes, in France, because of custom (between members of a fraternity, even if you have never met them before) you may also use the familiar "tu" form.

    Finally, you may also use the "tu" form to somebody you don't know at all, as a form of insult, as in "Tu veux ma photo ?", if you stare at someone.
  3. Joelline

    Joelline Senior Member

    USA (W. Pennsylvania)
    American English
    Are you using the "vous" form when you write or speak to each other? Then, you would use "s'il vous plaît." If you always use the "tu" form, then you'll want to use "s'il te plaît." You really want to be consistent.
  4. john_riemann_soong

    john_riemann_soong Senior Member

    Singapore / United States
    English, Singlish, Chinese; Singapore
    Ah, that occurs with my gaming clan for America's Army: within the clan everyone uses "tu", even though I'm a rather new recruit.
  5. RuK Senior Member

    Outside Paris
    English/lives France
    BTW, si il te plaît is not a different phrase. It's not really French at all - theoretically it's an extended version of s'il te plaît, but it's not like was not and wasn't - it just sounds illiterate. As everyone else has said, if you know someone well, or are just in a casual sort of group, say s'il te plaît; if not, s'il vous plaît.
  6. ganjaman73 New Member

    youngs rarely "vousvoyer", except for some older peoples, at least I do
    "tutoyer" is much more friendly and less impersonal
    for example in school all student "tuvoie" each other, but professors are generaly "vousvoyer"
    in video game, only no-native french speaker "vousvoie" ;P
  7. FreddieFirebird Senior Member

    Question about using "s'il te/vous plaît" with parents:
    S'il te plaît is used most often with parents, HOWEVER, if you're in trouble with them and are trying to be super-polite with them, would you use "vous" instead? And I mean when you're only talking to one parent here...

    Thanks! (I know this is a nit-picky question, but my students are curious on this kind of thing and I don't know enough about the culture to tell them!
  8. AnnieF

    AnnieF Senior Member

    English - British
    Very unlikely these days, although in the not-too-distant past in certain levels of French society, parents would commonly use the 'tu' form to their children, while the children would use the 'vous' form to their parents as a mark of respect.
  9. Lly4n4 Senior Member

    Paris (ex-Grand Ouest)
    Français (France)
    Even now, I use "vouvoiement" for my mother-in-law and her parents (the mother of my boyfriend, even if we like each other and know each other for 8 years). It's usual to "vouvoyer" your inlaw family. It may become rarer (it was expected for my parents' generation, it depends on the families nowadays).

    But I have always "tutoyer" my parents, apart when I was joking with them.
  10. AnnieF

    AnnieF Senior Member

    English - British
    Same here, even after 15 years! We tried using the more familiar form a couple of years ago, but slipped back into our old 'vous' habits very quickly, despite the fact that we get on very well!
  11. JeanDeSponde

    JeanDeSponde Senior Member

    France, Lyon area
    France, Français
    An occasional use of "vous" with someone you usually address with "tu" is not unfrequent, and can happen in many contexts: joke, joke-cum-respect, anger, anger-cum-joke...
    Although I'm definitely not high-society nor stiff-upper-lip, a vouvoiement is frequent in my family (- Mon fils ! comment allez-vous...? - Bien, mon père, et vous-même...?) as a form of tongue-in-cheek respect.
    And my ex-mother-in-law used to tutoyer her husband, using his first name, while she would revert to vous + last name when she was angry with him...

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