How to Discuss Quantities in French

If you’d like a little bit of sugar in your coffee, obviously you can’t use French numbers. Expressions of quantity in French (including those related to food) are just what you need.

How to use specific French expressions of quantities

You use an expression of quantity to express a quantity that’s less specific than a number and yet a bit more specific than a partitive article like du (some). Most expressions of quantity end with de (of), but quelques (several/a few), plusieurs (several), and aucun/aucune (none) don’t. Here’s a list of common expressions of quantity:

  • assez de (enough of)

  • beaucoup de (a lot of/many)

  • combien de (how much/how many)

  • la plupart de (most of)

  • moins de (more/less of)

  • ne . . . plus de (not any more of)

  • peu de (little of)

  • plus de (more of)

  • plusieurs (several)

  • quelques (several/some/a few)

  • trop de (too much of)

  • un peu de (a little bit of)

Here are some examples of these expressions in action:

Il y a beaucoup d’emissions intéressantes ce soir. (There are many interesting programs on tonight.)
Dépêche-toi! Nous avons peu de temps. (Hurry! We have little time.)
Ils ont plusieurs enfants. (They have several children.)

Food-related French expressions of quantities

Would you like a slice of pie? Or a platter of oysters, with a glass of wine? The following list gives you all the words you need for ordering in a French restaurant, making a list of groceries, or even reading a French recipe.

  • une bouteille de (a bottle of)

  • un verre de (a glass of)

  • un litre de (a liter of; liquids only)

  • un quart de (a quarter liter of)

  • une tasse de (a cup of)

  • une douzaine de (a dozen of)

  • une boîte de (a box/can of)

  • un paquet de (a bag of/packet of)

  • un pot de (a jar of)

  • un morceau de (a piece of)

  • une tranche de (a slice of)

  • une cannette de (a can; drinks only)

  • un kilo de (a kilo of)

  • une assiette de (a plate of)

  • une tablette de chocolat (a bar of chocolate)

  • un plat de (a dish/platter of)

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