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Expressing large numbers: thousands, millions and billions

Up to neuf cent quatre-vingt-dix-neuf [choses] (999 [things]), you can express quantities simply with the number + [noun]

Vingt-six oeufs 
Twenty six eggs

Deux cent soldats 
Two hundred soldiers

See previous lesson: Expressing numbers 70 to 99 


Thousands

There are two ways to express a thousand [things] in French: 

mille + [plural noun] 
or 
un millier de + [plural noun]

Il lui envoie deux mille roses.
He sends her two thousand roses.

Il lui envoie deux milliers de roses.
He sends her two thousand roses.

Mille soldats sont venus.
A thousand soldiers came.

Un millier de soldats sont venus.
A thousand soldiers came.

-> Both mille and un millier de are followed by a plural verb (sont venus). 

ATTENTION: 

mille never agrees in number with the noun it refers to (deux mille), whereas un millier de becomes deux milliers de, etc

Note
that you always need the de with millier !


Millions

The way to express a million [things] is always: 

un million de + [plural noun]

Un million de touristes
One million tourists

Trois millions d'euros
Three million euros

Il a gagné six millions de dollars au loto.
He won six million dollars in the lottery.

Un million de agrees in number with the noun it refers to:
trois millions de, cinq millions de, ...

 

Billions

The way to express a billion [things] is always:

un milliard de + [plural noun]

Un milliard d'euros
A billion euros

Sept milliards d'êtres humains
Seven billion human beings

Ce château coûte dix milliards de livres sterling.
This palace costs ten billion pounds.

Un milliard de agrees in number with the noun it refers to: 
cent milliards de, vingt milliards de, ...

 

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Il a gagné six millions de dollars au loto.
He won six million dollars in the lottery.


Un millier de soldats sont venus.
A thousand soldiers came.


Il lui envoie deux milliers de roses.
He sends her two thousand roses.


Ce château coûte dix milliards de livres sterling.
This palace costs ten billion pounds.


billions


Sept milliards d'êtres humains
Seven billion human beings


Un milliard d'euros
A billion euros


millions


Un million de touristes
One million tourists


Trois millions d'euros
Three million euros


thousands


Mille soldats sont venus.
A thousand soldiers came.


Il lui envoie deux mille roses.
He sends her two thousand roses.


Q&A

Robin

Kwiziq community member

7 May 2018

2 replies

Why not use elle instead of lui in the above sentence Il lui envoie deux millieurs de roses. Same for Il lui envoie deux mille rose? Are these typos?

Chris

Kwiziq community member

7 May 2018

7/05/18

Hi Robin,


in French it is "envoyer quelque chose à quelq'un". Therefore quelqu'un is an indirect object and the third person singular pronoun is lui, regardless of gender.


-- Chris (not a native speaker).

Robin

Kwiziq community member

9 May 2018

9/05/18

Many thanks!

Terry

Kwiziq community member

17 October 2017

2 replies

Il elle envoie deux milliers de roses

Shouldn't 'elle' be used instead of 'lui' for 'He sends her' in the above example?

Laura

Kwiziq language super star

17 October 2017

17/10/17

Bonjour Terry,

Elle is a subject pronoun, as in Elle est intelligente, or a stress pronoun, as in C'est pour elle.

In the sentence "He's sending her roses," her is an indirect object pronoun, and the third person singular indirect object pronoun - whether masculine or feminine - is lui. See our lesson: https://progress.lawlessfrench.com/my-languages/french/view/710

Terry

Kwiziq community member

24 October 2017

24/10/17

Merci Laura

David

Kwiziq community member

24 August 2017

1 reply

Long and short scale.

Billions, trillions and so forth can be confusing. Two scales are used. A long scale, used in many english-speaking countries: 10^3 - thousand 10^6 - million 10^9 - billion 10^12 - trillion 10^15 - quadrillion 10^18 - quintillion 10^21 - sextillion (each "-illion" increases by a power of 3) And a long scale, used in most european countries: 10^3 - mille 10^6 - million 10^9 - milliard 10^12 - billion 10^15 - billiard 10^18 - trillion 10^21 - trilliard (each "-illion" increases by a power of 6 with a "-illiard" in-between) This can be confusing for an european when reading international news. For example, when the US is spending a trillion(en) dollars, it's actually spending a billion(fr), 10^12, not a trillion(fr), 10^18.

David

Kwiziq community member

24 August 2017

24/08/17

Oh, unfortunately the formatting of my message was removed. As it stands in one line it's just a jumble of words.

Anish

Kwiziq community member

9 July 2017

3 replies

Hi, "I earn a thousand euros a month"

what will be the translation - should I use Un millions Euros or or Million Euros

Laura

Kwiziq language super star

9 July 2017

9/07/17

Bonjour Anish,

A thousand euros = mille euros.

A million euros = un million d'euros.

Anish

Kwiziq community member

10 July 2017

10/07/17

Thank you Laura. The test answered me wrong when I answered "Mille Euros" for one thousand euros; the correct answer was "Un mille d´Euros".
There is a mistake in the my question- i used million instead of mille.

Regards
Anish

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

14 July 2017

14/07/17

Bonjour Anish !

Actually there would be two possibilities here:
un millier d'euros (which was the option in that question)
or
mille euros (more colloquial)

I've now edited the question to accept mille as an alternate correct answer, which was an oversight on our part.

Merci et bonne journée !

Almut

Kwiziq community member

29 April 2016

2 replies

Is "Un millier" exactly one thousand or about one thousand?

Laura

Kwiziq language super star

29 April 2016

29/04/16

Bonjour Almut,

Un millier = about a thousand

Mille = a thousand

Almut

Kwiziq community member

3 May 2016

3/05/16

Thank you!
How has your day been?