What to say instead of ‘Oui’ in French?

Expanding Your French Vocabulary: Alternatives to ‘Oui’

Saying “yes” is one of the first things we learn in any language. It’s affirmative, positive, and opens up conversations.

However, the beauty of language lies in its diversity and the nuanced ways we can express agreement or affirmation.

In French, while “oui” is the go-to expression for “yes,” there are several alternatives that can add depth, enthusiasm, or politeness to your response.

Let’s explore some of these options to enrich your French conversations.

1. Bien sûr

Meaning “of course,” “bien sûr” is a friendly and affirmative response that conveys a sense of eagerness or willingness.


  • “Peux-tu m’aider avec ça?” “Bien sûr !” (Can you help me with this? Of course!)
  • “Voudrais-tu un peu plus de café?” “Bien sûr, merci.” (Would you like some more coffee? Of course, thank you.)

2. Absolument

“Absolument” translates to “absolutely” and is a strong, emphatic way to say “yes.” It shows complete agreement or conviction.


  • “Croyez-vous que ce soit la meilleure décision ?” “Absolument !” (Do you believe this is the best decision? Absolutely!)
  • “Est-ce que tu es sûr de vouloir faire ça?” “Absolument.” (Are you sure you want to do this? Absolutely.)

3. Tout à fait

This phrase means “exactly” or “entirely” and is used to express complete agreement with a statement or suggestion.


  • “Il fait chaud aujourd’hui, n’est-ce pas?” “Tout à fait !” (It’s hot today, isn’t it? Exactly!)
  • “Ce projet nécessite plus de temps, tu ne trouves pas ?” “Tout à fait.” (This project needs more time, don’t you think? Entirely.)

4. Certainement

“Certainement” or “certainly” is a formal and polite way to express agreement, often used in professional or formal settings.


  • “Pouvez-vous confirmer votre présence à la réunion?” “Certainement, je serai là.” (Can you confirm your attendance at the meeting? Certainly, I will be there.)
  • “Crois-tu que nous devrions avancer avec le plan ?” “Certainement.” (Do you think we should proceed with the plan? Certainly.)

5. Volontiers

“Volontiers” means “gladly” or “willingly” and is a gracious way to accept an offer or invitation.


  • “Je t’invite à dîner ce soir.” “Volontiers, merci.” (I invite you to dinner tonight. Gladly, thank you.)
  • “Voudrais-tu participer à notre projet bénévole ?” “Volontiers !” (Would you like to participate in our volunteer project? Willingly!)

6. D’accord

Though typically translated as “okay” or “alright,” “d’accord” can also function similarly to “yes,” especially in agreeing to propositions or suggestions.


  • “On se retrouve à 20h ?” “D’accord.” (Shall we meet at 8 PM? Okay.)
  • “Est-ce que tu peux fermer la porte, s’il te plaît ?” “D’accord.” (Can you close the door, please? Alright.)

7. En effet

“En effet” is a formal way to agree with a statement that has been made, similar to “indeed” in English. It’s often used in academic or sophisticated conversations.


  • “Ce roman est considéré comme une œuvre majeure, n’est-ce pas ?” “En effet, il a eu un grand impact.” (This novel is considered a major work, isn’t it? Indeed, it has had a great impact.)
  • “Il semble que nous ayons besoin de plus de ressources.” “En effet, je vais voir ce que nous pouvons faire.” (It seems we need more resources. Indeed, I will see what we can do.)


Expanding your vocabulary with these alternatives to “oui” can add precision, flavor, and sophistication to your French.

Each option carries its own nuance, allowing you to express agreement in a way that best suits the context, your personality, and your mood.

Incorporating these expressions into your everyday French will not only impress native speakers but also enhance your enjoyment of the language.

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