See You Soon in French - À bientôt, À Plus + Cultural Tips

Saying See You Soon In French
Ariel Skelley/ Getty Images Prestige.

The French use several expressions to say "see you soon / later". As you learned French greetings, you may have learned "à bientôt" and it's the standard, but there is more vocabulary to know, subtleties of meaning between expressions, and important cultural differences.

See You Soon in French: À Bientôt

"À bientôt" (final t silent) is the generic. It express your desire to see the other person soon, but with no precise time frame.

It's wishful thinking: I hope to see you again soon.

See You Later in French: À Plus Tard

"À plus tard" (a plu tar) is only used when you are going to see the other person again later the same day. So, "à plus tard", as opposed to "à bientôt", is quite specific on the time frame. You are not being super specific, not giving a precise time, but still, it's going to be the same day.

See Ya: À Plusssssss

The informal way to say "à plus tard" is "à plus", or "A+" when texting or emailing. Note the pronunciation difference: whereas in "à plus tard" the S of "plus" is silent, it is strongly pronounced in "à plus". I don't know why. Just like with "see ya" in English, "à plus" is quite informal, and can be used more casually, whether you are seeing the person later the same day or don't have a time frame in mind, just like with "à bientôt". It's very much used by younger crowds.

À La Prochaine: Till Next Time

Another casual way to say "see you soon" in French is "à la prochaine".

It stands for "à la prochaine fois" - literally "until next time". Here again the time frame is not specific.

À Tout de Suite, À Tout à l'Heure, À Touttttt: See You Later As Well

This weird construction doesn't really translate literally into anything that makes sense in English, but it's very used in French.

  • À Tout de suite - see you right away, very soon (pronounce it "a tood suit")
  • À Tout à l'Heure = à plus tard = see you later TODAY (pronounce it "a too ta leur")
  • À Tout - is the colloquial form, but still refers to seeing the person later the same day. The final T of "tout" is pronounced here "a toot".

À + specific time = See You Then

So, you've guessed it. In French, if you place an "à" in front of an expression of time, it means "see you... then".

  • À demain - see you tomorrow
  • À mardi - see you on tuesday
  • À dans une semaine - see you in a week

Cultural Remarks

The way the French set up informal appointments is very different than what I have encountered in the US. In the US, making plans with friends always seemed very casual: no obligation attached. So if some friends told me: "let's get together this weekend, I'll call you later this week", well, it often didn't happen. It was wishful thinking. 
In France, if someone tells you they would like to get together later that week, you can expect a call, and it's likely the person will have put aside some time for you during the weekend. It's much more solid. Of course, as always, this is a general observation, and is not true for everybody, just a difference I felt and thought I would share with you.

Another big subject is the way the French date: the French dating system... or lack of it. I encourage you to read the article I wrote for "French Today" on this subject.

Finally, note that "un rendez-vous" is both a personal AND work appointment. It's not necessarily a date.

Now, let's study how to ask "how are you" in French - it's the next logical step!

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