Expressing dates in French

How to express dates in French is a must in daily life situations. Thanks to this article and a bit of practice, you should be able to :

  • schedule appointments and meetings
  • meet agreed deadlines at work
  • have a job interview
  • book your next holidays
  • organize diners and parties with friends
  • give a quick introduction about yourself

If you are studying French for professionals or would like to better communicate in shops, mastering dates and times is mandatory.

Today we will cover the following chapters :

  1. How to speak about days of the week
  2. Using months
  3. Communicating with years
  4. How to express complete dates
  5. Ask questions about dates
  6. French idioms with dates and times
dates in french

How to speak about days of the week

  • Lundi = Monday
  • Mardi = Tuesday
  • Mercredi = Wednesday
  • Jeudi = Thursday
  • Vendredi = Friday
  • Samedi = Saturday
  • Dimanche = Sunday

Note : we don’t use capital letter for days of the week

  • J’ai rendez-vous lundi prochain = I have an appointment next Monday
  • Le centre est ouvert du mardi au vendredi, de 9h à 17h = the center is open from Tuesday to Friday, from 9am to 5pm.

To simply express the day of the week, you can use ‘on est’, ‘nous sommes’ or ‘c’est’.

  • On est mardi ! (casual) = it’s Tuesday !
  • Nous sommes mardi = it’s Tuesday
  • C’est mardi prochain = it’s next Tuesday

We have ‘le’ when it’s a regular action (attention, no ‘s’)

  • Je joue au foot le mercredi = I’m planning football on Wednesdays
  • Il fait le ménage tous les samedi = He cleans his house every Saturday
expressing dates in french

Using months in French

  • Janvier = January
  • Février = February
  • Mars = March
  • Avril = April
  • Mai = May
  • Juin = June
  • Juillet = July
  • Août = August
  • Septembre = September
  • Octobre = October
  • Novembre = November
  • Décembre = December

Note : again, we don’t use capital letter for month of the year

  • Le 31 février n’existe pas = February, 31 doesn’t exist
  • En mai, fait ce qu’il te plait = In May, do what you like/want (French idiom)

Communicating with years

We read each number from left to right :

Mille neuf cent quatre-vingt deux = 1982

Mille + neuf cent + quatre-vingt + deux = 1000 + 900 + 80 + 2

Note : cent and vingt will have an extra ‘s’ when there’s no other number after

  • Cent euros = 100 euros / deux cents euros = 200 euros / deux cent un = 201
  • Quatre-vingts euros = 80 euros / quatre-vingt-douze euros = 92 euros

However, in front of “thousand” (millier), “million” (million), “billion” (milliard), which are names and not numeral adjectives, the “s” remains:

Ex : Un budget de quatre-vingts millions d’euros = a budget of €90 millions

reading dates in french

Expressing complete dates in French

We read Day + Month + Year DD/MM/YY

(le) Jour – Mois – Année

  • Je suis né(e) le neuf octobre mille neuf cent quatre-vingt-deux = I was born on October 9, 1982

We will write it 9/10/1982 (day/month/year) whereas in English you will use 10/9/1982 (month/day/year)

  • J’ai rendez-vous le mardi 10 janvier = I have an appointment on Tuesday, January 10
  • Nous sommes le mardi 13 avril = It’s Tuesday, March 13 today

Asking questions about dates

  • Quel jour sommes-nous ? = What day are we ?
  • On est quel jour (informel) ? = What day are we ?
  • Quelles sont vos disponibilités ? = What are your availabilities ?
  • Quel est le prochain créneau disponible ? = What is your next available time slot ?
  • Quelle est votre date de naissance ? = What is your date of birth ?
  • Quand êtes-vous né(e) ? = When were you born ?
  • Quand peut-on se voir ? = When can we see each other ? / When can we meet ?
  • Quand est-ce qu’on se voit ? = When do we see each other ? / When can I see you ?

French idioms about date and time

  • Etre le jour J = to be the D-day
  • Arriver tous les 36 (trente-six) du mois = to happen once in a blue moon
  • Je m’en fous/fiche comme de l’an quarante = I don’ care / I don’t give a shit
  • Avoir un rencard = to have a date
  • Il était une fois = once upon a time
  • Il est temps ! = it’s about time / the time has come
  • Ces derniers temps = recently
  • En un rien de temps = very quickly
  • Par les temps qui courent = currently
  • Etre dans l’air du temps = to be trendy
  • Le temps presse = it’s urgent
  • Passer le plus clair de son temps à = spend most of your time
  • Attendre depuis des plombes/des lustres = wait for a very long time

Do you have any questions about this chapter ? Feel free to send me a quick email at bonjour(at)frenchwithagnes.com. I always take the time to answer !

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