French Grammar For Dummies
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To talk about dates in French, you need numbers and also the names of the days and of the months. You also might need to know the seasons of the year.

French days of the week

The French week (la semaine) starts on Monday (lundi), and the days of the week are not capitalized. Here are the days of the week (les jours de la semaine), starting with Monday.

  • lundi (Monday)

  • mardi (Tuesday)

  • mercredi (Wednesday)

  • jeudi (Thursday)

  • vendredi (Friday)

  • samedi (Saturday)

  • dimanche (Sunday)

Using the definite article le (the) + a day of the week indicates every + day of the week. For example: Le jeudi j’allais chez ma grand-mère (Every Thursday, I used to go to my grandmother’s house).

Months and seasons in French

The names of the months (mois) are not capitalized in French, and they are never preceded by an article. Here are the 12 months with their English translations:

  • janvier (January)

  • février (February)

  • mars (March)

  • avril (April)

  • mai (May)

  • juin (June)

  • juillet (July)

  • août (August)

  • septembre (September)

  • octobre (October)

  • novembre (November)

  • décembre (December)

To say in + month, say en + month, like this:

En août, tout ferme en France. (In August, everything closes down in France.)
Noël est toujours en décembre. (Christmas is always in December.)

In French, all four seasons (saisons) are masculine:

  • le printemps (spring)

    To say in the spring, say au printemps.

  • l’été (summer)

    To say in the summer, say en été.

  • l’automne (fall)

    To say in the fall, say en automne.

  • l’hiver (winter)

    To say in the winter, say en hiver.

How to say specific dates in French

It’s easy to say a date (la date) in French if you follow this simple formula:

Day + le + cardinal number + month + year

For example: mercredi le 12 septembre 2012 (Wednesday, September 12, 2012).

When abbreviating dates in French, the order of day and month is the reverse from English. So if you want to say December 25th, you write 25/12.

If you don’t name the day, you can simply say the cardinal number and the month, like le 12 septembre (September 12th), using the definite article le before the cardinal number. For example:

Ils sont partis le 4 janvier. (They left on January 4th.)
La date de son anniversaire est le 5 avril. (His birthday is on April 5th.)

Never use ordinal numbers, like 25th, to express a date in French. Just say le 25 (literally the 25). An exception is the first of the month: le 1er janvier (January 1st).

Here are a few expressions that are useful when you’re saying dates in French:

  • aujourd’hui (today)

  • demain (tomorrow)

  • hier (yesterday)

  • avant-hier (the day before yesterday)

  • après-demain (the day after tomorrow)

  • quelle est la date? (what’s the date?)

  • quel jour sommes-nous? (what day is it?)

  • quel jour? (what day?)

  • en quel mois? (in what month?)

  • en quelle année? (in what year?)

  • début + [month] (at the beginning of)

  • mi + [month] (in the middle of)

  • fin + [month] (at the end of)

  • aujourd’hui c’est + [day of the week] (today is)

  • demain ce sera + [day of the week] (tomorrow will be)

  • hier c’était + [day of the week] (yesterday was)

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book author:

Véronique Mazet has a doctorate in French from the University of Texas at Austin and is the author of two successful grammar books. She currently teaches French at Austin Community College in Austin, Texas.

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