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French Language Numbers System – Learn French Numbers

French number system is very easy to understand because it’s written exactly like English Numbers but are pronounced differently. Understanding how to write French numbers should take very little time and effort to learn. By the end of this article you should have a very solid understanding of the French number system.

Whatever second language you choose to study, one of the the first basic principles is to learn how to count. The first step is to learn the English-French translation of Cardinal numbers (that reflect a quantity) and then to learn the Ordinal numbers such as first, second or third (that reflect a position).

Ordinal and Cardinal French Numbers

Cardinal numbers like six and nine reflect a quantity such as two cats or nine rabbits – translated in French as ‘Deux chats’ and ‘Neuf lapins’. When learning to count you will see many similarities with words used in the English language such as ‘cani’ & ‘canine’. Numbers expressed as the sixth or the ninth are referred to as Ordinal numbers and translate as ‘Sixième’ for 6th and Neuvième for 9th.

In respect of the Ordinal, positioning numbers, they are expressed in a different format to English ordinal numbers. French ordinal numbers are expressed with a hyphen such as ‘Vingt-cinquième’, in the same format as for English ordinal numbers. There are distinctive words that are used for the first 10 ordinal numbers, and the remainder are formed from the cardinal number by adding “ième.”

French Number Examples

One of the most important dates in France is 14th of July, which is Bastille day, the festival of the French revolution translated as 14 juillet or ‘Fête nationale’ (Bastille day). Another example is 19 juin: Fête des Pères (Fathers’ day).

Asking the time! “What time is it?” translates as “Quelle heure est-il?”
“It is seven o’clock.” translates as “Il est sept heures.”
Asking “When?” or “What time?” translates as “Quelle heure.”
At eight o’clock in the evening translates as “Alle Huit di sera.”
1st day of the month: Ordinal number “Premier” abbreviated as 1º which means 1st
“Aujourd’hui est le premier janvier” translates as “Today is January first.”
Telephone numbers in France have the Country Code: 33 and the International Call Prefix: 00
Mobile phone numbers in France can begin with 06 or 07such as +33 6 in international format.
Telephone 17 for Police/Police Nationale (Gendarmerie) and 18 for the fire service

French Numbers 1-10

French Vocabulary for Numbers
French Numbers 1-10
French Numbers 1-10

French Numbers 1-20 Pronunciation

French Numbers beginning at twenty and up gain the prefix “vingt” added to the base number. French numbers above twenty follow a pattern that goes “prefix + – + cardinal number”. Example of how to write the pronunciation of French numbers below.

French Numbers Pronunciation
French Numbers Pronunciation

French Numbers 1-100

It’s actually pretty straight forward when it comes to learning how to use the French number system. Pronouncing French numbers on the other hands get a little bit tricky. French numbers 1 to 19 should be your primary focus when you begin. French numbers after gain a prefix added to the base number.

To illustrate what I mean, here are French numbers 1 to 100.

French Numbers 1-100
French Numbers 1-100

About Sally Morgan

My name is Sally Morgan, I'm American and currently a Language Teacher in New York State Schools for French and Spanish. I have studied Foreign Languages, translation and teaching at the Columbia University in New York. I lived for 3 years in Europe including France, UK and Italy.

I am a passionate linguist and love how speaking another language opens the doors of communication and therefore a whole world.

Please ask me any questions below

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