French Language Blog

Don’t Forget The Attachment – Sending Documents In French Posted by on Feb 13, 2019 in Vocabulary

Sending emails en français is an inescapable part of office life en France. Nothing makes this more real than coming back after a few days off and having to get through a mountain of email before normal work can pick up again.

Image from Pixabay. Licensed under CC0.

Sending emails en français can be confusing for un anglophone (an English speaker), because it’s easy to mix up un mail and an email. The effect is amplified when someone asks for un adresse mail (an email address), especially if they just asked how to spell your name.

Votre adresse mail, s’il vous plaît.
En France ou aux États-Unis ?
Votre adresse mail, s’il vous plaît. Pas votre adresse postale.
Ah oui ! Bien sûr !

Your email address, please.
In France or in the US?
Your email address please. Not your postal address.
Ah yes! Of course!

I still sometimes have to stop myself from writing mon adresse postale when I hear or see that! There is a caveat for those of you au Québec though. En français canadien, the word courriel is used for email, which helps avoid any confusion for les anglophones.

Cela dit (that said), accidentally reciting the wrong adresse is not the worst email mistake that can happen, especially when dealing with important documents. More than des fautes de frappe (typos) or even thinking in English, the biggest mistake that occurs when dealing with les mails is forgetting an attachment.

It’s easy to taper (type) something like:

Voici le document dont vous avez besoin.
Here’s the document that you need.

Then immediately forget to attach le document (the document) before clicking envoyer (send).

Alors comment dit-on attachment en français ?
So how do you say attachment in French?

In my experience dans le monde des affaires français (in the French business world) and dealing with countless meetings, there are a few common ways to refer to an attachment en français:

en pièce jointe
en PJ

All of them are closer to attached than attachment, but that’s because en pratique (in practice), that’s the most common way to see the idea.

Ci-joint est le document dont vous avez besoin.
Attached is the document that you need.

Vous trouverez en pièce jointe le document dont vous avez besoin.
You will find attached the document that you need.

If la besoin (the need) ever arises, an attachment is une pièce jointe.

Cependant (however), if you were paying attention to le contexte (the context) in this post, that would be easy to figure out.

At the end of the day, the most important part of any pièce jointe is remembering to include it in le mail!

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About the Author: John Bauer

John Bauer is an enthusiast for all things language and travel. He currently lives in France where he's doing his Master's. John came to France four years ago knowing nothing about the language or the country, but through all the mistakes over the years, he's started figuring things out.