Updated: July 23, 2022 by Mylene in French Expressions ▪ EnglishFrançais
Good luck in French
What do you wish for someone before a job interview? Or to a colleague who’s starting a new job? You wish Good luck: “Good luck with the job interview”, “Good luck with your next job”. The article below will teach you the many ways of saying good luck in French and in which situations.
In this post, you’ll learn:
- How to wish good luck in French
- Say bonne chance to wish good luck in French
- 20 sentences with synonyms of good luck in French
- Infographic: French expressions to talk about good luck
How to wish good luck in French?
I like to think of myself as a lucky person, but I’m not lucky all the time. The good news is it’s not just me – or you. Luck can be the good or the bad things that happen by chance. We all need luck and support in our daily life. After all, what’s better than hearing a friend wishing us good luck? There are dozens of ways to say good luck in French and some of them might sound weird like “je touche du bois” or “merde”. But before, I want to start with the most common expressions to say good luck in French.
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Using “bonne chance” to wish a sincere good luck in French
Good luck in French is “Bonne chance”. This French two-words expression can be literally translated to English: “bonne” means good and “chance” means luck. French is easy, right?
- Wish good luck for a job interview: Bonne chance pour ton entretien
- Wish good luck for passing a driving license: Bonne chance pour ton permis
- Wish good luck for a project: Bonne chance pour votre nouveau projet
As you might have noticed, bonne chance and pour often go hand in hand, but pour can be replaced with avec and dans in specific situations.
Bonne chance pour
These examples highlight that “bonne chance pour” is suitable to use when talking about intangible concepts (like projects or events). Meanwhile, “bonne chance avec” is used when referring to tangible objects, persons, or other physical things. For example:
- To wish good luck in French to your friend having a new manager you’d say: Bonne chance avec ton nouveau manager.
- Another example, bonne chance avec ta nouvelle maison is a way to wish good luck in French to someone who bought a new house.
Bonne chance dans
In general, the expression “bonne chance dans” can be used interchangeably with “bonne chance pour” as both expressions can be associated with future events and intangible concepts. Here is one example: Bonne chance dans ta nouvelle vie (Good luck in your new life)
Ultimately, you’ll be using “bonne chance pour” most of the time. The other variations with avec and dans are deliberately a little more complicated. Which brings us back to the list of other common expressions to wish good luck in French.
Bonne chance vs. Je vous souhaite Bonne Chance
It’s entirely possible to wish good luck in French just by saying “bonne chance”. In the course of a conversation, saying “bonne chance” is enough as long as what is intended can be understood by all participants. Perhaps you want to sound formal when saying good luck in French. In this case, start the sentence with “Je vous souhaite” or “Je te souhaite” if appropriate. Here is one example:
- Je vous souhaite bonne chance (I wish you good luck)
Using “que” to say good luck in French
Perhaps you’re looking for an alternative to “bonne chance” that also sounds formal. In this case, you can use the subjunctive form that starts with “que”. This is a good alternative to the formal French good luck “je vous souhaite”. Check this example to better understand this expression:
- Que votre séjour soit agréable (May your stay be pleasant).
Meilleurs voeux: A festive good luck in French
“Meilleurs voeux” refers to a commonly used greeting that French people mostly use in late December and early January of every year. It means “Season’s Greetings” and it is an alternative way of saying “Bonne Année” (happy new year in French). Besides using “meilleurs voeux” for the holiday season, it can also be used to wish good luck in French on other festive occasions such as graduations, birthdays, and weddings. In such situations, “meilleurs voeux” means best wishes. For instance:
- Meilleurs voeux pour votre mariage (Best wishes for your wedding).
Saying Merde to wish good luck in French
This is a familiar way to say good luck in French. Saying merde to wish good luck in French is an informal way of saying good luck. It is equivalent to “Break a leg” in English. Be aware of when to use this expression. Most of the time, friends or close family members use this expression in their everyday French conversation.
The story dates back to the 19th century. At that time, French people used to come to the theater in horse-drawn carriages. As it is obvious, horses would produce a lot of “merde”. The success of a piece of theater could then be judged by the amount of merde in front of its venue. Merde, French may be hard but fun!
- Je te dis merde pour ton concours demain (Good luck in the contest tomorrow)
Let’s explore more ways to say Good in French without “Bonne Chance”.
Je croise les doigts
“Je croise les doigts” is a popular way to wish good luck in French that have an English equivalent. This expression literally translates to “I cross my fingers”. Many people do cross their fingers while saying this. Example:
- Je croise les doigts pour que ton examen se passe bien (I’m crossing my fingers for your exam to go well)
Je touche du bois
Another expression to wish good luck without explicitly using “bonne chance” is to say “Je touche du bois pour toi” which is the French equivalent to “knock on wood”. This expression is used along with the act of touching an object of wood nearby. Otherwise, you would bring bad fortune instead of good luck as per the common superstition. The expression “je touche du bois” is a good way to wish good luck in French either for yourself or for others.
- Tout va bien pour l’entreprise de ma fille, je touche du bois (Everything is going well for my daughter’s company, knock on wood)
Luck is a very wide topic, besides the many expressions, there are lucky symbols such as four-leaf clovers, horseshoes, or ladybugs. There are also many luck superstitions around the world and across cultures. French people have their own superstitions related to the number 13, Friday the 13th, the horseshoes upside down, or also the eye contact when saying cheers in French.
For sure, luck plays an important role in our lives. Luck as a vital power in our world is as necessary as it is unavoidable. But learning French is less about luck and more about work and practice. Bonne chance!
Bon courage or Bonne chance
Let’s move to the next expression which is “bon courage“. This expression is more about effort and less about luck. The right use of “bon courage” is when the task is hard or at least not enjoyable. For instance, say “bon courage” to a friend moving to a new house, say “bon courage” to someone waiting in a long line, etc.
Of course, the end result is, or could be, rewarding but the task itself isn’t enjoyable or hard. In this context, you can use “Bon courage” as it’s a common way to wish good luck in French. Here is an example:
- Bon courage pour votre trajet (Good luck for your journey).
As with other French expressions, you can combine “bonne chance” and “bon courage” in one sentence. In France, you’ll often hear people saying “Bonne chance et bon courage!”.
Bonne chance when things get tough
Throughout our days, it is possible that we encounter difficult situations. Sometimes we know that things won’t be easy and we get prepared. Sorting out stuff with a difficult colleague is not about building future projects. Nothing is exciting about fixing something that went wrong with your neighbors.
So if your friends or spouse wish you good luck in such situations, they are acknowledging that the situation is hard and therefore they are wishing good luck. Same with when you have to take care of a group of super excited kids, bonne chance doesn’t mean any more good luck. In this situation, by saying bonne chance you’re wishing luck, of course, but also you’re recognizing that the situation is, or could be, hard.
- Les enfants doivent dormir d’ici une heure, bonne chance pour les coucher! (The kids must go to sleep an hour from now, good luck in putting them to bed!).
As we saw, there are many expressions to say good luck in French. Most of these expressions can be used within the conversation such as je touche du bois or bonne chance. Other words can also be used as parting phrases, instead of saying goodbye it’s common to use “bonne chance” in a sentence at the end of a conversation. Here is one example “Allez bonne chance pour ce soir”.
20 sentences with synonyms of good luck in French
Saying Good Luck is a very popular question that many French learners ask. This is why I made this list of 20 useful ways to say good luck in French with an example for each expression.
- Bonne chance dans: Bonne chance dans tes recherches.
- Bonne chance pour: Bonne chance pour ce soir.
- Bonne chance avec: Bonne chance avec les enfants.
- Bon courage: Bon courage pour ton cours de français!
- Je te dis merde: Je te dis merde pour ton spectacle.
- Meilleurs Voeux: Meilleurs Voeux pour votre anniversaire.
- Que: Que votre projet se réalise!
- Je croise les doigts: Je croise les doigts pour que ton dossier soit accepté.
- Je touche du bois: Je touche du bois pour ton frère.
- Je touche la peau du singe: Jusqu’ici, je touche de la peau du singe. Je n’ai pas eu de problèmes pour aller au travail.
- Je te souhaite plein de réussite: Je te souhaite plein de réussite dans la vie.
- Mes pensées t’accompagneront: Mes pensées t’accompagneront tout le long de ton voyage.
- Le meilleur pour ton avenir: Je te souhaite tout le meilleur pour ton avenir.
- Je te souhaite beaucoup de succès; Je te souhaite beaucoup de succès dans ton nouveau défi professionnel.
- Bonne continuation: Merci à tous les participants et bonne continuation à tout le monde!
- Tous mes voeux de réussite: Tous mes voeux de réussite pour ce nouveau challenge!
- Avoir de la veine: Si tu termines ce projet avant demain soir, tu auras de la veine!
- Au petit bonheur la chance: Dans notre boutique les jours ne se ressemblent pas, au petit bonheur la chance!
- Bonne réussite: Bonne réussite dans vos études.
- Je t’envoie plein d’ondes positives: Je t’envoie plein d’ondes positives pour ta réunion de demain.
To learn more French expressions, like the alternatives to say good night in French or the best ways to say thank you in French, here is a link to the brief guide to learn useful French expressions.
Bonne chance pour la suite
Luck as a vital power in our life is as necessary as it is unavoidable. For a long time, humans perceived luck as a strange force that is powered by magical rituals and behaviors. It turns out that much of the good and bad fortune is a result of our thoughts and behavior! To read more about luck, check the key to good luck is an open mind. Bonne chance!!
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