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Bon matin - French Mistake

French mistakes analyzed and explained

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Mistakes will always be made in French, and now you can learn from them.

Wrong: Bon matin

Right: Bonjour

Explanation: In English, "good morning" is a typical greeting. Its literal French translation, "bon matin," is not. If you want to greet someone in the morning, you just say bonjour.* The only time you would use bon matin is in the expression de bon matin, which means "bright and early."

Likewise for "good afternoon" - the French simply don't use "bon après-midi" as a greeting. If you want to greet someone in the afternoon, you should again say bonjour or, starting around 6pm, bonsoir. Upon leaving, you can say bon après-midi or bonne soirée to wish someone a nice afternoon or evening, respectively.

*In Québec, bon matin can be used as an informal greeting between, for example, close friends and long-time co-workers.

Related lessons
  • Greetings
  • Telling time in French
  • Jour vs journée, soir vs soirée
  • Expressions with bon
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