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

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 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.


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


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.


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.


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


Q&A

Fahad

Kwiziq community member

29 April 2019

1 reply

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?

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

4 May 2019

4/05/19

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! 

 

Molly

Kwiziq community member

16 March 2019

0 replies

Sorry for the jumbled appearance of my last message - all of my formatting seems to have disappeared...

Molly

Kwiziq community member

16 March 2019

1 reply

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... :-)

Molly

Kwiziq community member

16 March 2019

16/03/19

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. 

G

Kwiziq community member

7 December 2018

1 reply

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?

Chris

Kwiziq community member

8 December 2018

8/12/18

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. 

Michelle

Kwiziq community member

24 November 2018

1 reply

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? 

Tom

Kwiziq community member

25 November 2018

25/11/18

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

ch

Kwiziq community member

11 November 2018

1 reply

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/

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

12 November 2018

12/11/18

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!

 

 

Ian

Kwiziq community member

2 August 2018

2 replies

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

Chris

Kwiziq community member

2 August 2018

2/08/18

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).

Ian

Kwiziq community member

2 August 2018

2/08/18

Thanks Chris - much appreciated.

peter

Kwiziq community member

30 July 2018

4 replies

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

Chris

Kwiziq community member

31 July 2018

31/07/18

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. 

peter

Kwiziq community member

31 July 2018

31/07/18

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?

Chris

Kwiziq community member

31 July 2018

31/07/18

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).  

Chris

Kwiziq community member

31 July 2018

31/07/18

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.

Theodore

Kwiziq community member

27 June 2018

1 reply

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

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

28 June 2018

28/06/18

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!

Theodore

Kwiziq community member

27 June 2018

1 reply

Salut tout le monde!

Theodore

Kwiziq community member

27 June 2018

27/06/18

Malheuresement, J'ai fait un erreur. Je vais encore ressayer.
How has your day been?