Intermediate French For Dummies
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When it comes to numbers and counting, the French follow most of the same patterns that the English do (at least from 0 to 20). After that there are a few differences, but don’t worry learning numbers and counting in French isn’t complicated. It’s really just a question of memorizing.

1 to 20
un 1
deux 2
trois 3
quatre 4
cinq 5
six 6
sept 7
huit 8
neuf 9
dix 10
onze 11
douze 12
treize 13
quatorze 14
quinze 15
seize 16
dix-sept 17
dix-huit 18
dix-neuf 19
vingt 20

When the French count on their fingers, they always start with the thumb. You’re thinking big deal, right? Well, it can be if you use your fingers to order something. For example, if you hold up your index and middle finger to order 2 beers, the waiter will bring you three because they assume you started counting on the thumb (even if you kept your thumb tucked in).

With numbers 21 to 69, you combine the tens with the words for numbers 1 to 9.

21 to 69
vingt et un 21
vingt-deux 22
trente 30
trente et un 31
trente-deux 32
quarante 40
quarante et un 41
quarante-deux 42
cinquante 50
cinquante et un 51
cinquante-deux 52
soixante 60
soixante et un 61
soixante -deux 62

So far so good, right? Well, here’s where things get interesting. In most French-speaking countries, there is no word for 70, 80, and 90. Instead, for the numbers 70 to 79, combine the tens with the tens.

Although these rules hold true for most French-speaking places, there are a few that do have unique words for the numbers 70 (septante) and 90 (nonante), such as Belgium and Switzerland.

70 to 79
soixante-dix 70
soixante et onze 71
soixante-douze 72

With the numbers 80 to 89, combine the number 4, the number 20, and the ones. For example, in French 80 is four 20s, 81 is four 20s plus 1, and so forth. (Unlike most French-speaking countries, Switzerland actually has a word for the number 80. It’s huitante.)

80 to 89
quatre-vingts 80
quatre-vingt-un 81
quatre-vingt-deux 82

For numbers 90 to 99, combine the number 4, the number 20, and the tens. For example, 90 is four 20s plus 10, 91 is four 20s plus 11, and so forth. (The plus isn’t included in the expression.)

90 to 99
quatre-vingt-dix 90
quatre-vingt-onze 91
quatre-vingt-douze 92

When talking about larger numbers in French, just follow the same formula. For numbers above 100, say the hundreds digit first, then the ones and then the tens. For example, 151 would be cent cinquante un (“a hundred, fifty, one”).

100 and Higher
cent 100
cent un 101
cent deux 102
cent cinquante 150
deux cents 200
cinq cents 500
mille 1,000

Note that an s is added to the end of the word cent, whenever it is followed by another number.

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