Expressing dates in French

Take a look at the way to express dates in French:

le 24 janvier 2012
24th January, 2012

le 3 mars 2013 
3rd March, 2013

Here's the general structure:

le + number + month + year

"Le" 

Don't forget the definite article le before the date. 
Note that dates are always masculine, so it's never la.

ATTENTION: 
You say le onze and NOT l'onze :

le 11 juillet  
le onze juillet

11th of July

 

 

Number

The main difference between dates in English and in French is the numbers we use: 

English dates use ordinal numbers (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th...) while French dates require cardinal numbers (un (1), deux (2), trois (3), quatre (4)...) and NOT deuxième (2e), troisième (3e), quatrième (4e)...


EXCEPTION: 

For the 1st day of the month ONLY, we do use the ordinal number le premier (1er) = the first (1st).

le 1er avril 1997
1st of April 1997

 

Month

In French, months don't take a capital letter :

janvier mai septembre
février juin octobre
mars juillet novembre
avril août décembre 

 

Year

In French, there are two ways to read years from before 2000:

- as a full number, reading the thousands + hundreds + tens + units
e.g  1465

1615 (mille six cent quinze)
1615 (sixteen *hundred* fifteen)

1776 (mille sept cent soixante-seize)
1776 (seventeen *hundred* seventy-six)

984 (neuf cent quatre-vingt-quatre)
984 (nine hundred eighty-four)

1900 (mille neuf cents)
1900 (nineteen hundred)

by splitting it at the "hundreds" (similarly to English), reading the hundreds + tens + units
e.g  1465

1615 (seize cent quinze)
1615 (sixteen *hundred* fifteen)

1776 (dix-sept cent soixante-seize)
1776 (seventeen *hundred* seventy-six)

984 (neuf cent quatre-vingt-quatre)
984 (nine hundred eighty-four)

1900 (dix-neuf cents)
1900 (nineteen hundred)

Note that in French, you always need the word cent in this case.
You cannot say : dix-sept vingt  (1720)

 

As for the years post 2000's,

There is only one way to read them, and that is as a full number:

2003 (deux mille trois)
2003

2013 (deux mille treize)
2013

  

Examples and resources

1615 (mille six cent quinze)
1615 (sixteen *hundred* fifteen)



1900 (mille neuf cents)
1900 (nineteen hundred)


Halloween est le 31 octobre.
Halloween is October 31st.


1615 (seize cent quinze)
1615 (sixteen *hundred* fifteen)


le 13 juin
13th of June


984 (neuf cent quatre-vingt-quatre)
984 (nine hundred eighty-four)


le 24 janvier 2012
24th January, 2012


1900 (dix-neuf cents)
1900 (nineteen hundred)


2013 (deux mille treize)
2013


le 7 février 2012
7th of February 2012


1776 (dix-sept cent soixante-seize)
1776 (seventeen *hundred* seventy-six)


le 3 mars 2013 
3rd March, 2013


2003 (deux mille trois)
2003


1776 (mille sept cent soixante-seize)
1776 (seventeen *hundred* seventy-six)


le 11 juillet  
le onze juillet

11th of July


le 10 septembre 2009
10th of September 2009


exception with 1st


le 1er avril 1997
1st of April 1997


Q&A

Hope

Kwiziq community member

11 December 2018

1 reply

Why is it that cents is plural in mille neuf cents/dix-neuf cents but not anywhere else?

Tom

Kwiziq community member

14 December 2018

14/12/18

Hi Hope,

Numbers can be tricky and incosistent in French.

Numbers that imply multiplication tend to take an 's' to indicate a plural but in the case of quatre-vingts it loses its 's' before another numeral:

80 quatre-vingts, but 85 quatre-vingt-cinq

It is a similar case for hundreds where cent takes an 's' for round hundreds but loses it before another number

200 deux cents, but 210 deux cent dix

Thousands  NEVER takes a plural

1,000 mille, 5,000 cinq millle, 10,100, dix mille cent

Million, milliard, and billion keep their 's' in all circumstances.

2,000,000 deux millions,  2,000,010 deux millions dix

2,000,000,000 deux milliards, 2,000,000,010 deux milliards dix

2,000,000,000,000 deux billions 2,000,000,000,010 deux billions dix

This should explain why cents is plural in mille neuf cents/dix-neuf cents but not anywhere else

Tom

Adrienne

Kwiziq community member

6 December 2018

1 reply

I was always taught that then definite/infinite articles when followed by a vowel a apostrophe is used. Why not with "onze" in the case?

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

6 December 2018

6/12/18

Hi Adrienne, 

It is just an exception to the rule, you will never hear a French person say,

l'onze but , le onze...

Susan

Kwiziq community member

24 October 2018

0 replies

If you are writing the date, like on a school assignment or at the top of a letter would you still ues “le”?

Julie

Kwiziq community member

9 October 2018

6 replies

I am hearing the gentleman say Dix-sept "sous" soixante seize, not "dix-sept cent soixante seize. Am I right?

Tom

Kwiziq community member

9 October 2018

9/10/18

He definitely says : dix-sept cent soixante seize but, I agree, the 'cent' is a bit indistinct. It may help if you play it at a higher volume.

Maybe it would help if kwiziq had the ability to slow down the audio?

 

Julie

Kwiziq community member

9 October 2018

9/10/18

No I dont think slowing down the audio is necessary. I replayed it a few times as wel as the other sentences containing the word "cent" and it just sounds different! 

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

10 October 2018

10/10/18

Hi Julie, 

He actually says -

'Mille sept cent soixante seize' not dix sept cent but I do agree that it is a bit different from the other ones.

He definitely doesn't say 'sous'.

Hope this helps!

Alan

Kwiziq community member

10 October 2018

10/10/18

There are two later examples where he does say "dix-sept cent soixante seize" and I agree with Julie, they don't sound correct.

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

10 October 2018

10/10/18

Hi Alan,

You are correct and the second example which I missed sounds like 'sous' .

it has been fixed...

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

10 October 2018

10/10/18

Very interesting conversation !

I listened to the "dix sept cent" example myself, and does hear "cent" :)
But I agree that it is a bit muffled, so I've updated the audio to a clearer version :)

I hope that helps!
Bonne journée !

ramachandrika

Kwiziq community member

17 December 2017

5 replies

I couldn't see quizzes for any lesson.what may be the reason?

Gruff

Kwiziq language super star

17 December 2017

17/12/17

Hi Ramachan - If you clicked to a lesson from a studylist i.e. on your dashboard or your notebook(s), then you won't see a quiz at the bottom since the idea is to kwiz against your list and not just one topic in it.

Roberta

Kwiziq community member

19 December 2017

19/12/17

I used to get Micro quizzes for each topic, now I don't. I found them very helpful. Can you explain why they aren't available anymore?

Gruff

Kwiziq language super star

20 December 2017

20/12/17

Hi Roberta - they were causing a lot of confusion for many users when shown on lessons that are in a studylist and until we can sort them out, we've decided to remove them - for now anyway. If you test against the list you'll still be tested on the topic, but KwizBot will intelligently select questions from the full set available for the topics in your list each Kwiz. If you want to focus on a smaller set of topics, you can add lessons to your notebook and test against that.

Gruff

Kwiziq language super star

16 February 2018

16/02/18

You'll be pleased to know our micro kwiz French tests have been restored. You can read more here:

https://progress.lawlessfrench.com/blog/micro-kwizzes-back/

 

Roberta

Kwiziq community member

16 February 2018

16/02/18

Merci beaucoup! Je suis ravi!

Antwain

Kwiziq community member

26 November 2017

2 replies

Hello! I'm Not seeing a kwiz for this lesson. What might be the issue?

Ron

Kwiziq community member

26 November 2017

26/11/17

Bonjour Antwain, The quiz is present on my screen. Perhaps one of the Kwiziq team will reply to you about this issue.

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

27 November 2017

27/11/17

Bonjour Antwain ! I went on that lesson myself, and could also see the test. One of the reasons you wouldn't see a test could be that you've taken that test recently, but here we need you to use the "Report" button on the specific page, so our technical team can have access to more specific info and look into it properly :) Merci et à bientôt !

tanya

Kwiziq community member

2 November 2017

2 replies

when writing the date

is it acceptable to use the number as well as the written form of the number IE: C'est le 10 mai and C'est le dix mai. or is one preferred over the other

Chris

Kwiziq community member

2 November 2017

2/11/17

I believe that would be the same as in English: for easier readability the number is preferred. In French texts I have always found the numerals in favor of the spelled-out numbers. -- Chris (not a native speaker).

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

7 September 2018

7/09/18

Hi Tanya,

Normally dates will always use numbers. e.g.

C'est le 5 mai, nous sommes le 7 septembre , le 31 décembre...

In a text there are various rules including the one that numbers up to ten will be written using numbers. The others in their written form.

Also if at the beginning of a sentence a number will be spelt out.

Vingt des 30 élèves ont échoué à ce test = Twenty out of 30 pupils failed that test

Hope this helps!

 

Anish

Kwiziq community member

28 May 2017

3 replies

Is it that we do not apply Liaison with numbers in general or is it only in case of dates.

Laura

Kwiziq language super star

28 May 2017

28/05/17

Bonjour Anish, If you're asking about this: "you say le onze and NOT l'onze" that's not a liaison, it's elision, and the answer is that is always the case: you cannot ever say l'onze. If you're actually asking about liaisons (pronouncing the consonant at the end of one word at the beginning of the next), can you please give me an example?

Anish

Kwiziq community member

28 May 2017

28/05/17

Hi Laura, I meant to ask about elision, not liaison, Merci beacon for the answer.

Anish

Kwiziq community member

28 May 2017

28/05/17

Not able to edit answers once posted..I meant Merci Beaucoup :-)

yellamaraju

Kwiziq community member

21 January 2017

1 reply

Le treize mars - expression of dates in French

In the quiz on revision of A0: Le treize mars means: the thirteenth March was marked wrong and thirteenth of March was marked right answer. I couldn't understand the differences. In one of the examples: Halloween est le 31 octobre: Halloween is October 31. and not as 31st. of October. I fail to understand the differences. Request clarification and correction

Ron

Kwiziq community member

10 April 2017

10/04/17

The answer may lie in your question: I notice that you indicated "the thirteenth March" as being incorrect; however "thirteenth of March" as being the correct answer. Having looked at the lesson cited above, all of the dates that are used as examples do not translate as "the thirteenth" but as "thirteen of. . ." Hope that helps.

Cameron

Kwiziq community member

15 December 2016

2 replies

I don't have a Kwiz on this subject. Why is that?

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

16 December 2016

16/12/16

Bonjour Cameron ! Could you be more specific as to what your issue is here? Are you talking about the microKwizzes not appearing on the page? Please let me know and I'd be happy to help!

Cameron

Kwiziq community member

13 July 2017

13/07/17

Good day, Aurélie. I'm still having the same problem with this lesson as I have had several times in the past. The microKwizz does not show up. The box is there but it says 1 of 0 and there is no question. Any idea why this would be? Thanks for your help. I love this site!

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