When to use "demain"/"hier" vs "le lendemain"/"la veille" vs "le jour suivant"/"le jour précédent"

Like in English, demain (tomorrow) and hier (yesterday) are used to talk about moments considered from the point of view of the present.

However, sometimes you talk about moments that are seen from a past point of view. The speaker recounts events that already took place.
In these cases, we use the following expressions to talk about the day after and the day before:

Le lendemain / La veille  

Demain, j'irai m'inscrire à l'université.
Tomorrow I will go to enrol at university.

Le lendemain, j'allais m'inscrire à l'université.
The day after, I was enrolling at university.  
The next day, I was enrolling at university.

Hier, nous avons découvert la vérité.
Yesterday, we discovered the truth.

La veille, nous avions découvert la vérité.
The day before, we'd discovered the truth.

 

Le lendemain generally means the day after or the next day

You cannot say le jour après in French.

La veille generally means the day before, but it can also be used more specifically in the sense of the eve, for example at Christmas:

On se réunit autour d'un bon repas la veille de Noël.
We gather around a nice meal on Christmas Eve.

To emphasise that you're talking about the evening before or the morning before, you can also use the expressions la veille au soir and (rarer) la veille au matin, but it doesn't work with l'après-midi:

Je l'avais vu la veille au soir.
I'd seen him the evening before.

La veille au matin, il s'était réveillé avec la gueule de bois.
The morning before, he had woken up with a hangover.

Le lendemain/La veille de + noun = the day after/before [something] 

The main difficulty here is that in French you cannot use a conjugated verb after la veille or le lendemain, unlike in English: the day after he left / the day before you were born.

Instead you will use de + noun, as such:

Le lendemain de son départ, elle fut soulagée.
The day after he left, she was relieved.

La veille de ta naissance, nous étions encore en train de décorer ta chambre.
The day before you were born, we were still decorating your room.

 

Le jour d'après / Le jour d'avant

These can only be used on their own, and will mean the same as le lendemain and la veille, although they're a bit less elegant, more used in speech.

J'y suis allée le jour d'après.
I went there the day after.

Elle lui avait parlé le jour d'avant.
She had talked to him the day before.

Note that this expression can also be with days of the week

Le jeudi d'après, elle était partie.
The following Thursday, she was gone.

Le mercredi d'avant, elle lui avait dit toute la vérité.
The previous Wednesday, she had told him the whole truth.

 

Le jour suivant / Le jour précédent 

Le jour suivant, Ali Baba retourna à la grotte.
On the following day, Ali Baba returned to the cave.

Le jour précédent, ils avaient quitté leur vieil appartement.
On the previous day, they'd left their old flat.

As for le jour suivant (on the following day) and le jour précédent (on the previous day), they are used in a past context just like le lendemain and la veille, but always on their own.

Note that just like le jour d'après and le jour d'avant, this expression can also be with days of the week

Tu veux dire ce lundi ou le lundi suivant ?
Do you mean this Monday or the following Monday?

Le vendredi précédent, il était allé la voir sur scène.
The previous Friday, he'd gone to see her on stage.

 

Le jour suivant / Le jour précédant + noun  = the day following / preceding [something]


To say the day following his arrest or the day preceding/leading to their first date, you will use le jour suivant or le jour précédant + noun.

Il a été relâché le jour suivant son arrestation.
He was released he day following his arrest.

Le jour précédant leur premier rendez-vous, ils étaient très nerveux.
The day preceding their first date, they were very nervous.

 

See also Prochain / dernier = Next / last (durations)

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Elle lui avait parlé le jour d'avant.
She had talked to him the day before.


Hier, nous avons découvert la vérité.
Yesterday, we discovered the truth.


Le jour précédent, ils avaient quitté leur vieil appartement.
On the previous day, they'd left their old flat.


On se réunit autour d'un bon repas la veille de Noël.
We gather around a nice meal on Christmas Eve.


J'y suis allée le jour d'après.
I went there the day after.


Le lendemain, j'allais m'inscrire à l'université.
The day after, I was enrolling at university.  
The next day, I was enrolling at university.


Demain, j'irai m'inscrire à l'université.
Tomorrow I will go to enrol at university.


Le mercredi d'avant, elle lui avait dit toute la vérité.
The previous Wednesday, she had told him the whole truth.


Le jour suivant, Ali Baba retourna à la grotte.
On the following day, Ali Baba returned to the cave.


La veille au matin, il s'était réveillé avec la gueule de bois.
The morning before, he had woken up with a hangover.


La veille de ta naissance, nous étions encore en train de décorer ta chambre.
The day before you were born, we were still decorating your room.


Le jeudi d'après, elle était partie.
The following Thursday, she was gone.


Il a été relâché le jour suivant son arrestation.
He was released he day following his arrest.


Le jour précédant leur premier rendez-vous, ils étaient très nerveux.
The day preceding their first date, they were very nervous.


Le lendemain de son départ, elle fut soulagée.
The day after he left, she was relieved.


Tu veux dire ce lundi ou le lundi suivant ?
Do you mean this Monday or the following Monday?


La veille, nous avions découvert la vérité.
The day before, we'd discovered the truth.


Le vendredi précédent, il était allé la voir sur scène.
The previous Friday, he'd gone to see her on stage.


Je l'avais vu la veille au soir.
I'd seen him the evening before.


Q&A Forum 17 questions, 31 answers

FahadC1Kwiziq community member

What can we use when talking about the future?

For example, « We will arrive on tuesday, and we’ll leave the following day »

I know we can use « le jour prochain » and « le jour dernier », but is  « le jour suivant/précédent » or « le lendemain/ la veille » also allowed?

Asked 5 months ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Fahad,

In your example in the future, you would say -

'Nous arriverons mardi et repartirons le jour suivant /le lendemain.'

When to use 'suivant' or 'prochain' is always difficult to explain and problematic for students as you will often use just 'next' in English... 

You will seldom use the word ‘prochain’ after the word 'jour' ... although you might say ‘ces prochains jours/ ces jours prochains’. ( in the next few days )...You are more likely to say, mercredi prochain  or la semaine prochaine le mois prochain but always in reference to 'now' , meaning the one nearest in time to now. 

e.g.

'Je suis pris dimanche prochain mais remettons ça au dimanche suivant '= I am not free next Sunday but let's do it the following Sunday

If you are talking about a time in the past, you will also use 'suivant' -

'He came back the next day' Il est revenu le jour suivant/ le lendemain/ le jour d'après

In the example we want to convey the 'next' /following day in the time you are talking about. 

When you want to convey 'next' in order you will also use  'suivant'

For instance , in a queue,

'Next!' will be 'au suivant '

But not easy I know....

Hope this helps! 

 

What can we use when talking about the future?

For example, « We will arrive on tuesday, and we’ll leave the following day »

I know we can use « le jour prochain » and « le jour dernier », but is  « le jour suivant/précédent » or « le lendemain/ la veille » also allowed?

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MollyC1Kwiziq community member

Le jour d'avant/d'après confusion

What exactly is meant by "these can only be used on their own" when talking about "le jour d'avant/d'après"? Maybe I'm missing something obvious but for me the examples don't really encapsulate the concept. Do you mean that they can't be used to detail more about the thing that happened - only that which happened before and after it? For example you couldn't say:"le jour d'avant de la visite de ma tante" (the aunts visit being the springboard for what has happened the day before or after)

but you could say it when using "la veille":

"la veille de la visite de ma tante"

(and vice versa for le jour d'après and le lendemain)?Looking at the examples above of:"Le jeudi d'après, elle était partie.""Le mercredi d'avant, elle lui avait dit toute la vérité."etc.,

this is the only way I can see that le jour d'avant/d'après are different. They talk about what happened before/after the thing, but nothing more about the thing itself.

Please let me know if I've got this completely wrong... :-)

Asked 6 months ago
MollyC1Kwiziq community member

Actually,  I think my example "de la visite de ma tante" was not right in this context as it doesn't involve a subject at the beginning? In any case, hopefully the rest of my question/examples still stand. 

Le jour d'avant/d'après confusion

What exactly is meant by "these can only be used on their own" when talking about "le jour d'avant/d'après"? Maybe I'm missing something obvious but for me the examples don't really encapsulate the concept. Do you mean that they can't be used to detail more about the thing that happened - only that which happened before and after it? For example you couldn't say:"le jour d'avant de la visite de ma tante" (the aunts visit being the springboard for what has happened the day before or after)

but you could say it when using "la veille":

"la veille de la visite de ma tante"

(and vice versa for le jour d'après and le lendemain)?Looking at the examples above of:"Le jeudi d'après, elle était partie.""Le mercredi d'avant, elle lui avait dit toute la vérité."etc.,

this is the only way I can see that le jour d'avant/d'après are different. They talk about what happened before/after the thing, but nothing more about the thing itself.

Please let me know if I've got this completely wrong... :-)

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GC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Re - not being able to use a conjugated verb after le lendemain.

The following sentence is given as an example in a dictionary explanation for "le lendemain".

"Il a été décrété que le lendemain serait un jour férié".

Is this sentence grammatically incorrect because it uses the conjugated verb serait after le lendemain?

Asked 10 months ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
In this example, "le lendemain" is the subject of the sentence. The statement about it not being followed by a conjuated verb relates to "le lendemain" being used as a temporal qualifier. 

Re - not being able to use a conjugated verb after le lendemain.

The following sentence is given as an example in a dictionary explanation for "le lendemain".

"Il a été décrété que le lendemain serait un jour férié".

Is this sentence grammatically incorrect because it uses the conjugated verb serait after le lendemain?

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MichelleC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Lendemain

In the Charles Aznavour song it's "On a tort de penser, je sais bien, aux lendemains". I'm confused by the lendemains as it is in the present tense and referring to the future. Why that word? Is this how one would say "tomorrows" in a poetic sense, referring to the future in a boader sense vs. just "tomorrow" as in the day after tomorrow. Could you replace lendemains with something else and still have it make sense? 

Asked 10 months ago
TomC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Hi Michelle,

I agree that your hunch is correct and lendemains could be poetically translated as "tomorrows". In the context of the song it literaly means the immediate future and I suppose could also be rendered as "le proche avenir".

Hope this helps,

tom

Lendemain

In the Charles Aznavour song it's "On a tort de penser, je sais bien, aux lendemains". I'm confused by the lendemains as it is in the present tense and referring to the future. Why that word? Is this how one would say "tomorrows" in a poetic sense, referring to the future in a boader sense vs. just "tomorrow" as in the day after tomorrow. Could you replace lendemains with something else and still have it make sense? 

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ChC1Kwiziq community member

I'm just gonna leave this here

I won't again write "jeudi suivant" in quiz answers but I hear it a lot when making plans, so I'm putting this here :-)

https://forum.wordreference.com/threads/jour-de-la-semaine-prochain-suivant-qui-vient-de-la-semaine-prochaine-dapr%C3%A8s-en-huit.377114/

Asked 11 months ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Ch,

Technically speaking :

prochain/e = next

suivant/e = following /the one after that

and they are used precisely in French unlike happens sometimes in English.

 e.g.

La semaine prochaine je vais en France et la semaine suivante je serai en Chine Next week I am going to France and the following week I'll be in China

Le prochain train s'arrête à Birmingham mais le train suivant va directement à Manchester The next train stops in Birmingham but the one after goes directly to Manchester

Hope this helps!

 

 

Ch asked:View original

I'm just gonna leave this here

I won't again write "jeudi suivant" in quiz answers but I hear it a lot when making plans, so I'm putting this here :-)

https://forum.wordreference.com/threads/jour-de-la-semaine-prochain-suivant-qui-vient-de-la-semaine-prochaine-dapr%C3%A8s-en-huit.377114/

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IanC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Is it correct to say "Il s'est réveillé le jour d'après le mariage"?

Asked 1 year ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer

Hi Ian, I would say:

Il s'est réveillé le jour après le mariage. Without "de" before après. Or:
Il s'est réveillé le lendemain du mariage.

Il s'est réveillé le jour d'après.

-- Chris (not a native speaker).

IanC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
Thanks Chris - much appreciated.

Is it correct to say "Il s'est réveillé le jour d'après le mariage"?

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PeterC1Kwiziq community member

what is the difference between yesterday and the day before - in English they are the same - is it different in French?

Asked 1 year ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer

The "day before" refers to a specific point in time from which to take the previous day.

"Yesterday" is the day before today. Not an event which may be in the past or the future but the present, today.

-- Chris.

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

They are actually not the same in English. 

The day before she arrived I cleaned my room. 

Yesterday I cleaned my room. 

It's the same in French. 

-- Chris. 

PeterC1Kwiziq community member

I am sorry my good man but yesterday is the day before 

Yesterday, before she arrived I cleaned my room

The day before, I cleaned my room

both sentences although expressed diffently say the exact same thing which is getting to the question of hier vs la veille. Is there a difference?

ChrisC1Kwiziq community member
Chris is correct.  "Yesterday" is linked to the present, but "the day before" is not.  Indeed it can be in the past (last Saturday I went Kitesurfing, but the day before I went wakeboarding) or in the future (next Saturday I will go kitesurfing, but the day before I will go wakeboarding).  

what is the difference between yesterday and the day before - in English they are the same - is it different in French?

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TheodoreC1Kwiziq community member

Salut tout le monde! Quelle est la difference entre "le mercredi passé" et "le mercredi precédent"? Sont-ils la même chose?

Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Bonjour Théodore!

if you were talking about two wednesdays, you would say:

"le mercredi passé" for the one just gone and "le mercredi précédent" for the one before that.

Hope this helps!

Salut tout le monde! Quelle est la difference entre "le mercredi passé" et "le mercredi precédent"? Sont-ils la même chose?

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TheodoreC1Kwiziq community member

Salut tout le monde!

Asked 1 year ago
TheodoreC1Kwiziq community member
Malheuresement, J'ai fait un erreur. Je vais encore ressayer.

Salut tout le monde!

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CathyC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

None of my additional question detail show up

Asked 1 year ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Yes, it's frustrating. Please post your observation directly to the kwiziq team using the "Help and support" menu under "Tools". Maybe if more people complain they will institute changes more quickly. 

-- Chris. 

GruffKwiziq team member
Hi Cathy/Chris - is this still happening? If so, please write to support as we're not aware of any issues currently with this feature. Many thanks!

None of my additional question detail show up

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JohnB2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Cannot Use conjugated Verb

Since we can't use a conjugated verb after la veille or le lendeman, how do we say "the day before everything burned, the police was on their heel"? Do we have to say la veille que tout était brulé or le jour précédant tout brulé?
Asked 2 years ago
RonC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
Bonjour John, »la veille, tout brûlé, la police était à leur talon« would be a good phrasing. Bonne chance
LauraKwiziq team member
Bonjour John, I wouldn't use la veille here; I'd say Je jour avant que tout n'ait brûlé ...

Cannot Use conjugated Verb

Since we can't use a conjugated verb after la veille or le lendeman, how do we say "the day before everything burned, the police was on their heel"? Do we have to say la veille que tout était brulé or le jour précédant tout brulé?

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JenniferC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Le jour suivant

Is it possible to say il s'est réveillé le jour suivant le mariage rather than le lendemain du mariage?
Asked 2 years ago
JenniferC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
Sorry I now know this is ok. Would have erazed had that been possible
CécileKwiziq team member

Hi Jennifer,

No you cannot say , 'le jour suivant le mariage' you could say, ' le jour après le mariage' but ' le lendemain du mariage' is even better...

JenniferC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Thank you

Le jour suivant

Is it possible to say il s'est réveillé le jour suivant le mariage rather than le lendemain du mariage?

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Susan C1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

I'm a bit confused by what "on their own" means,

especially when, in an example, "le jour suivant" isn't used on its own. I read the Q&A, and I'm still confused. Which sentence structures are correct for which phrases?
Asked 2 years ago
AurélieKwiziq team member
Bonjour Susan, "On their own" here means with no direct complement attached to it. For example, in "le jour suivant, j'ai fait ça" , the expression is used on its own, as it is then separated from the rest on the sentence by a comma, so it is used on its own. Whereas in "le jour suivant son retour, j'ai fait ça", the expression is completed by "son retour" (i.e. the day following what? his return), therefore it is not used on its own here. I hope that helps clarify it! À bientôt !
Susan C1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
Merci, Aurélie, for clarifying. Unsurprisingly, there would seem to be many ways to skin this particular cat. I would be most interested in which ways are used most often in conversational and informal (i.e., non-academic) written French. I'm beginning to envy La Bourgeois Gentilhomme for speaking prose.
RobC1Kwiziq community member

Yes I agree and the answer by Aurélie does not answer the point. The example in the lesson is "Il a été relâché le jour suivant son arrestation." so what is meant by "on their own?

I'm a bit confused by what "on their own" means,

especially when, in an example, "le jour suivant" isn't used on its own. I read the Q&A, and I'm still confused. Which sentence structures are correct for which phrases?

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ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

What am I missing???

"The day before, I had written him a letter." Now, of course I can translate this safely as "La veille, ...". However, why not as "Le jour précédant,..."? After all, it stands on its own, or doesn't it? -- Chris.
Asked 2 years ago
AurélieKwiziq team member

Bonjour Chris !

Yes, as it stands on its own, it will be "le jour précédEnt" and not "le jour précédAnt (quelque chose)"  :)

À bientôt !

GrahamC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
Sorry, I still don't understand "on its own"  Most of the examples are on their own if that  simply means there is a comma

What am I missing???

"The day before, I had written him a letter." Now, of course I can translate this safely as "La veille, ...". However, why not as "Le jour précédant,..."? After all, it stands on its own, or doesn't it? -- Chris.

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JulieC1Kwiziq community member

In the test was a question: the correct answer was "la veille de l'accident.

Could you also say 'Le jour précédent l'accident?
Asked 3 years ago
LauraKwiziq team member
Almost, you can say "Le jour précédAnt l'accident."
MarnieC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

It might be helpful if the difference in usage between “precedAnt” and “precedEnt” was spelled out and emphasised ....it’s easy to miss and the reason would cement it in the mind!  Thanks.

In the test was a question: the correct answer was "la veille de l'accident.

Could you also say 'Le jour précédent l'accident?

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JohnnyC1Kwiziq community member

it doesn't work with other moments of the day

You wrote "To emphasise that you're talking about "the evening before", you can also use the expression la veille au soir, but it doesn't work with other moments of the day (matin, après-midi)." Then how do I say the morning before?
Asked 3 years ago
AurélieKwiziq team member
Bonjour Johnny ! That's a very tricky question! I actually had to look it up, because as a native speaker, I had never used such cases. The fact is that "la veille au matin" seems to be accepted - thanks to you, I've now updated the lesson accordingly - even though it's quite rare; you could also say "le matin précédent". However, for "l'après-midi", you will say "la veille dans l'après-midi", but I cannot claim that I heard this often. I hope that's helpful! Merci beaucoup et à bientôt !
JohnnyC1Kwiziq community member
I love submitting questions to you because you always give me the credits and sometimes compliments :-) It's very interesting that you use the evening before but rarely the morning before or the afternoon before. Is it because most of the times people would just say the day before?

it doesn't work with other moments of the day

You wrote "To emphasise that you're talking about "the evening before", you can also use the expression la veille au soir, but it doesn't work with other moments of the day (matin, après-midi)." Then how do I say the morning before?

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JohnC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

This is a long, tough lesson!!

I’m having a lot of trouble with this lesson. Can you provide parallel examples of ways to say the same thing with “le jour précédant /précédent / le lendemain” and explain exactly what you mean by the rule that some phases can only be used “on their own.” Also, it is unclear whether the plus que parfait is required or whether the passé composé can be used following a phrase. La veille, nous avions découvert la verité. (example) Are these correct? Nous avons découvert la verité le jour précédent. Le jour d’avant, nous avons découvert la verité. Nous aurions dû découvrir la verité la veille de son mort. Nous aurions pu découvrir la verité le jour précédent, mais nous avons raté les indices. Il a découvert la verité la veille de son mort. I know that's a lot. Thanks for any guidance.
Asked 3 years ago
JoakimC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
My guess is that "on their own" means they must be followed by punctuation rather than by more words.
HilaryC1Kwiziq community member
Really interesting lesson but I am also unsure what is meant by the 'on their own' proviso. Perhaps while you can say 'la veille de son départ' or 'le jour précedant son depart' you cannot use 'le jour d'avant/d'après' or le jour précedent' with a noun in the same way? I would also like to know if you can use any of these terms to talk about the future as the example 'Tu veux dire ce lundi ou le lundi suivant' suggests you can.

This is a long, tough lesson!!

I’m having a lot of trouble with this lesson. Can you provide parallel examples of ways to say the same thing with “le jour précédant /précédent / le lendemain” and explain exactly what you mean by the rule that some phases can only be used “on their own.” Also, it is unclear whether the plus que parfait is required or whether the passé composé can be used following a phrase. La veille, nous avions découvert la verité. (example) Are these correct? Nous avons découvert la verité le jour précédent. Le jour d’avant, nous avons découvert la verité. Nous aurions dû découvrir la verité la veille de son mort. Nous aurions pu découvrir la verité le jour précédent, mais nous avons raté les indices. Il a découvert la verité la veille de son mort. I know that's a lot. Thanks for any guidance.

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