Wishing good luck is a universal way to show kindness and compassion towards others, and French, known as the language of love, encapsulates this sentiment with elegance and flair. In French, the term ‘Bonne chance’ translates to ‘good luck’. This article delves into the art of using ‘Bonne chance’ and other French expressions to convey your good wishes effectively. Whether you’re learning French or want to understand French culture better, knowing these expressions will surely enrich your communication skills.

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‘Bonne Chance’ and its Usage

The literal translation of ‘Bonne chance’ is ‘good luck’, making it the standard expression to wish someone luck in French. You can use it before someone embarks on an endeavor, similar to how ‘good luck’ is used in English. For example, if a friend is about to take an important exam, saying “Bonne chance” is a perfect way to express your wish for their success.

While the phrase can be used in both formal and informal settings, the context and the nature of the task at hand might demand the use of other expressions. For instance, wishing someone ‘Bonne chance’ before a job interview in French could seem a bit formal. In such cases, there are other informal expressions you could use to maintain a friendly rapport.

Wishing Good Luck Informally

While ‘Bonne chance’ is an expression that works in a wide variety of situations, sometimes you may want to convey your wish in a more casual, friendly manner:

  1. One of the more colloquial ways to wish good luck in French is to simply say ‘Merde’, which, despite its literal translation being somewhat crude, is commonly used to mean ‘Break a leg’.
  2. Another example of an informal expression for good luck is ‘Tiens bon’, translating to ‘hang in there’. This phrase is especially useful when the person is currently in the midst of the situation that requires luck or persistence.

The Art of Encouragement

In French, wishing ‘Bonne chance’ is not the only way to extend your support. Another commonly used phrase is ‘Bon courage’. Although this expression doesn’t translate directly to ‘good luck’, it is a powerful phrase that communicates your wish for the person’s strength and determination. ‘Bon courage’ is particularly appropriate when the task at hand involves significant effort, making it a great phrase to use before someone embarks on a challenging project or a demanding journey.

Superstitions and ‘Good Luck’ in French Culture

French culture, like many others, is steeped in numerous superstitions. These can play a role in how you wish someone luck or the rituals associated with it. For instance, saying ‘Merde’ instead of ‘Bonne chance’ before a performance is a traditional superstition in the world of French theater. This originates from the days of horse-drawn carriages. The more ‘Merde’ (or horse manure) there was outside a theatre, the more carriages had arrived, indicating a larger audience and a more successful play.

Unique French Expressions for Wishing Good Luck

French is a rich language with a variety of expressions. When it comes to wishing good luck, there are several unique phrases you could use:

  • ‘Merde toi’ is a slightly informal yet widely used phrase, particularly among young people.
  • It’s also common to use ‘Que la chance soit avec toi’, meaning ‘May luck be with you’, a phrase reminiscent of a certain famous line from Star Wars.


Understanding the different ways to wish ‘Good luck’ in French reveals the richness of the language and the culture. Whether it’s the commonly used ‘Bonne chance’, the informal ‘Merde’, the encouraging ‘Bon courage’, or the unique ‘Que la chance soit avec toi’, each phrase is a testament to the expressiveness of French. With these phrases in your vocabulary, you’re well equipped to extend your wishes and immerse yourself more deeply in French culture.


How do you wish someone good luck before a job interview in French?

‘Bonne chance’ is the standard way to wish someone luck before a job interview. However, for a more informal approach, you could use expressions like ‘Merde’ or ‘Tiens bon’.

What are some informal expressions to wish good luck in French?

Informal expressions include ‘Merde’, ‘Tiens bon’, and ‘M**** toi’.

Yes, in French theatre, it is customary to say ‘Merde’ before a performance, which is believed to bring good luck.

Can “Bonne chance” be used in both formal and informal settings?

Yes, ‘Bonne chance’ can be used in both formal and informal settings. Its versatility makes it a safe choice in most situations.

What is the literal translation of “Bonne chance”?

‘Bonne chance’ translates literally to ‘good luck’ in English.

What are the Unique French expressions for wishing good luck?

Unique French expressions for wishing good luck include ‘Que la chance soit avec toi’, which means ‘May luck be with you’, and ‘M**** toi’, a phrase widely used among young people.

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