Someone told me that, if you want someone who is talking too much to be quiet, you can use either of the two phrases: "ferme-la" and "tais-toi". I know that they are both casual phrases and that you might sound stern or rude. But I was also told that they aren"t exactly the same because one of them is a stronger phrase.

I just want to know: Which one is stronger and which one is more polite?



Ferme-la ! (or La ferme !) is very rude although you might be even more rude with Tu vas la fermer ta gueule ! or just Ta gueule !.

You are watching: How do you say be quiet in french

Tais-toi ! or Taisez-vous ! is only acceptable if you are talking to kids or to people under your orders, better to add s"il te plait / s"il vous plait to slightly soften the request.

With friends, you might say Camembert (for ferme ta boite à camembert…)but it"s more a joke than anything, and only used in France.

If you are talking to someone you don"t know, directly asking to that person to stop talking is rude, whatever the way you say it. This is true in English too.

In such case, you"d rather indirectly ask like one of these ways:

Est-ce que je peux vous demander un peu de silence s"il vous plait ?

Excusez-moi, pourriez-vous parler un peu moins fort s"il vous plaît ?

Pourriez-vous faire un peu moins de bruit pendant que je … ?

Finally, chut ! or just the index in front or the lips is a common way to ask for silence, exactly like the "shhh!" gesture.

See more: Why Does My Dog Want To Sleep With Me All Of A Sudden Ly Want To Sleep With Me?

Improve this answer
edited Jun 17 "20 at 9:38

answered Sep 30 "16 at 7:49

116k77 gold badges8282 silver badges189189 bronze badges
Add a comment |
Both are rude, but « Ferme-la » is the strongest. These are very disrespectful and you should avoid using them. Actually, as mentioned by Simon Déchamps in the comments, it"s rude because it"s imperative. Asking someone to stop talking is in most cases rude. To stay polite the good way would be to ask the person to make less noise (Pourriez-vous faire moins de bruit s"il vous plait ?).

« Tais-toi ! » is sometimes used to ask a child to be quiet, and in an adult-to-children talk there"s no problem using it, but in an adult-to-adult conversation it"s disrespectful due to its imperative aspect, though the verb itself isn"t rude. « Ferme-la » is disrespectful even when talking to children, and it"s rude anyway.

Note that even though « Tais-toi ! » can be used toward a child, there are still more respectful ways to tell it, by example :

Pourrais-tu te taire s"il te plaît ?

Which translates to « Could you please stop talking ?`

If you want it to sound more like an order, adding « s"il te plaît » will make it more polite :