How to Answer a Yes/No Question in French

Questions often start with Do you . . . in English, and short answers often use that very same helper verb: I do or I don’t. French doesn’t use an auxiliary to ask a question, so there’s no such thing as I do either. For a short answer in French, your only options are oui (yes) and non (no). But you can add a few frills to that, like bien sûr (of course), or pas du tout (not at all).

The following list provides some good choices to use depending on how you want to color your answer.

  • avec plaisir (with pleasure)

  • bien sûr (of course)

  • certainement (certainly)

  • jamais (never)

  • pas du tout (not at all)

  • pas encore (not yet)

  • pas grand-chose (not much)

  • pas question (no way)

  • si (yes [in response to a negative question])

Don’t use pas alone as a response. It has to be with another word such as pas encore (not yet) or in combination with a stress pronoun as in pas moi (not me). Here’s an example:

—Qui a fait ça? (Who did this?) —Pas moi. (Not me.)
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