Correspondence - Beginning and Ending Letters in French

Correspondence - Beginning and Ending Letters in French
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Beginning and Ending Letters in French

In this article, we will look at common ways to begin and end letters in French correspondence. We will look at both formal (business) and informal correspondence. [caption id=“attachment_130818” align=“aligncenter” width=“640”]

Business Letter Headings

We all know that French is an absolutely charming language. We also know that the French are noted for their politeness. A combination of these two attributes join together to express themselves at their very best in the beginnings and endings of letters in French The heading of a business letter is straightforward. We use the well-known forms of address “Monsieur” or “Madame,” or we can write “Cher Monsieur” or “Chère Madame” to express the English equivalent of “Dear Sir” or “Dear Madam.” However, the phrase with which you sign off a French letter is quite elaborate. The use of “veuillez” in a business letter You may be familiar with the verb “vouloir” to express requests or to invite someone to do something. For example: “Voulez-vous danser avec moi?” In ending French letters, the second person imperative form of this verb, which is “veuillez,” is the form that is used. Here are two examples for ending a business letter.

  1. Veuillez agréer, Monsieur/ Madame, l’assurance de mes sentiments les plus distingues.
  2. Veuillez agreer, Monsieur/Madame nos salutations distinguées.
  3. Veuillez croire, Monsieur/ madame, en nos salutations les meilleures.

Any one of these can be used to express the English equivalent “Yours faithfully” or “Yours sincerely.” If you do not wish to use “veuillez”, you can also use the expression “Je vous prie…” Here are some examples:

  1. Je vous prie d’agréer mes sentiments les meilleurs
  2. Je vous prie d’agréer l’assurance de mes respectueuses salutations
  3. Je vous prie de bien vouloir recevoir, Monsieur, l’expression de mes sentiments les plus distingués.

These all mean « Yours faithfully. »

Beginning Letters in French - Business

After you greet the recipient of your business letter, you may need to express apology or thanks in your opening lines; for example: Nous accusons réception de votre lettre We acknowledge receipt of your letter. J’ai le plaisir de I am glad to J’ai le regret de I regret to

Ending Letters in French - Formal

Just before you end your business letter, you need to wind up. You can use: En attendant le plaisir de vous lire I look forward to hearing from you A bientôt de vous lire I hope to hear from you soon Dans l’attente de vous lire a ce sujet, par retour In anticipation of hearing from you by return Here is a complete winding up and ending : Dans l’attente de votre réponse, veuillez recevoir, Cher Monsieur/Chère Madame, l’expression de mes sentiments Bien sincèrement (your name) I look forward to hearing from you. Yours sincerely (your name.)

Beginning Letters in French - Informal

Friends and relatives How do we begin and end letters to friends and relatives? Here are some examples: Cher Michel, Chère Marie-Laure Dear Michel, Dear Marie-Laure Cher ami, Chère amie Dear friend Mon cher Jacques, Ma chère Marie My dear Jacques, My dear Marie These greetings can be followed by the following : Je te remercie de ta dernière lettre Thank you for your last letter J’ai été content(e) d’avoir de tes nouvelles I was glad to have your news Ta lettre m’a fait plaisir I was pleased to receive your letter J’ai bien reçu ta lettre du 23 mai I received your letter dated May 23rd. Je te présente mes excuses I apologize

Winding up You can wind up before ending the letter with any of the following: Je te quitte I must leave you Je te souhaite bonne chance I wish you luck Bonjour de ma part à ta famille Give my regards to your family Ecris-moi bientôt Write soon

Ending Letters in French - Informal

You can then sign off with: Bien à toi Best wishes A bientôt I’ll hear from you soon Je t’embrasse bien fort With much love Bons baisers/Grosses bises Love and kisses Meilleurs amities Sincerely Très amicalement With very best wishes There are many other expressions which you can research. Here is a good website where you can read more about the beginning and ending of French letters, and how to write the body of a letter. Note that these can also be use for French email closings and openings.  Bonne chance! Image by Walkerssk from Pixabay