Remercier: Definition & Conjugation

Instructor: Jennifer Chrol

I have a Master's degree in English and French. I love teaching language at all ages and levels.

Most people, French speaking or not, know that merci means 'thank you' in French. Do you know where that word comes from? By the end of this lesson you will, as well as how to conjugate the verb and why we use it.

The French Verb Remercier

The most common way to say 'thank you' in French is merci. You will hear it in shops, grocery stores, and pretty much anywhere you go in France. We can think of merci as the French equivalent of 'thanks.' Where does it come from? The word merci comes from the verb remercier which means 'to thank.' It is a more formal way to say 'thank you,' but it can be used with tu or vous. The verb is always conjugated in agreement with the subject.

Here is a chart to help you remember:

Subject Pronoun Verb Conjugation Pronunciation Translation
je je remercie (zhuh ruh-mair-see) I thank
tu tu remercies (too ruh-mair-see) you thank (singular/informal)
il/elle/on il/elle/on remercie (eel/el/ohn ruh-mair-see) he/she thanks
nous nous remercions (noo ruh-mair-see-ohn) we thank
vous vous remerciez (voo ruh-mair-see-ay) you thank (plural/formal)
ils/elles ils/elles remercient (eel/el ruh-mair-see) they thank

Using Remercier

Remercier can be thought of not only as a slightly more formal verb, but also as a more sincere way to say thank you. If you are celebrating your birthday with friends, and one friend bought you a pair of socks, you say merci. Suppose a friend bought you something really meaningful and thoughtful? Here would be a great time to use je te remercie.

When using this verb, it is important to remember that you need to refer to a direct object. Think of it as if you were saying 'I thank you.' 'I' is the subject, and 'you' is the direct object. In French, the direct object with this verb comes before the verb when being used in the present tense: Je vous remercie. Je is the subject, and vous is the direct object. Any combination of subject and direct object is possible.

Here are some example sentences:

  • Il te remercie. - He thanks you.
  • Vous nous remerciez. - You thank us.
  • Je la remercie. - I thank her.
  • Ils vous remercient. - They thank you.
  • Nous vous remercions. - We thank you.

Translation: She thanks her for the gift.
thank you

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