If "Je t'aime" means "I love you", how do you say "I like you" in French while still addressing the other person as "tu"?
There doesn't seem to be a way to indicate that one only likes a person with whom one is friends, rather than loves them. Is there a way to indicate this while still referring to the friend as 'tu'?
Tutoiement has nothing to do with it; note that a similar difference exists between "je vous aime" and "je vous aime bien".
Voting to close as general reference (any bilingual dictionary will give you the answer).
So can someone clarify this, is there a distinction between I love you (romantic) and I like you (friends) that is in english also in French? If there is such a distinction (and it is not inferred just based on the context and the way it is said) what are the phrases used. Please also indicate where you are from (is this French, Canadian, ...)
I think it is a good question, as it is more a matter of cultural conventions not a strictly linguistic discussion.
@Andre : Depends how you punctuate it (:P). If that's *“je t'aime, toi”* with an important comma (that is, if the emphasis is on *“aime”*), it can mean “ **you**, I like you” (or love), by opposition to someone that person would hate. If it's said with emphasis on *“toi”*, il can strongly suggest that person is in love with that other. If it's all said lightly, it can very well be a light-hearted “I like you” (“you're a cool person”). Bring context and tone to the rescue. If you want more opinions, open another question, I'd say it's worth it.
Je t'aime bien (literally: I love you much).
To change “love” to “like”, you need to modify it with an adverb.
We don't often use this one with people of the other sex like Pierre explains. It assumes a friendship relation but it's a little more subtle. We often use "Je t'aime bien" to imply we don't love ("je t'aime") the other person.
Indeed, "Je t'aime bien" is also a way of saying "but I'll nevere, ever, love you". To say "I love you", you'd rather use "Je ne te hais point."
@Joubarc What a citation! Indeed you can say that, but as a speaker of the language who currently lives in the country I would never use something like this orally.
Me neiher, but if the person you're trying to seduce knowns her/his classics, you may get bonus points. I guess I'm more on the "Tu ne me laisses pas indifférent." end of the spectrum than on the "Je te kiffe grave!!" one.
My understanding of the adverb in "je t'aime bien" might be something like "I like you well enough".
Peut-être « tu es très bonne » va bien, ou quelque adjectif d'autre qui spécifie une qualité appréciée ? Il faut c'est-à-dire spécifier pourquoi est-ce que je l'aime si bien…