De rien

French expressions analyzed and explained

Deli worker giving mother and daughter cheese sample
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Expression: De rien

Pronunciation: [deu ryeh(n)]

Meaning: you're welcome

Literal translation: it's nothing

Register: normal

Notes: It's unfortunate that most students of French learn to translate "you're welcome" with the expression de rien. If you think about it, the closest English equivalent to de rien is "it's nothing," which is not the nicest way to acknowledge gratitude. De rien isn't wrong, exactly, but it's not as polite as what native French speakers typically say:

  • je vous en prie - you are welcome (literally, "I beg of you")
    je t'en prie - you're welcome (to a friend)
     
  • c'est moi qui vous remercie (or just c'est moi) - no, thank you (literally, "it is I who thanks you")
     
  • merci à vous / toi - thank you (literally, "(my) thanks to you")
     
  • pas de quoi, il n'y a pas de quoi (informal) - don't mention it (literally, "no need, there's is no need")
     
  • avec plaisir (South of France) - my pleasure (literally, "with pleasure")
     
  • bienvenue (Canada) - you're welcome (literally, "welcome")

Example
   -Merci, j'ai beaucoup aimé ce livre. -De rien!
   -Thank you, I really liked this book. -You're welcome!

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