French › Introductory lessons › Review

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G: The French alphabet[edit | edit source]

The French Alphabet · L'alphabet français
Characters Aa Bb Cc Dd Ee Ff Gg Hh Ii Jj Kk Ll Mm
Pronunciation ah bay say day uh ehf zhay ahsh ee zhee kah ehl ehm
Characters Nn Oo Pp Qq Rr Ss Tt Uu Vv Ww Xx Yy Zz
Pronunciation ehn oh pay kew ehr ehs tay ew vay doo-bluh-vay eeks ee-grehk zehd

In addition, French uses several accents which are worth understanding. These are: à, è, ù, (grave accents) and é (acute accent). A circumflex applies to all vowels: â, ê, î, ô, û. A tréma (French for dieresis) is also applied: ä, ë, ï, ö, ü, ÿ. Two combined letters are used: æ and œ, and a cedilla is used on the c to make it sound like an English s: ç.

V: Basic phrases[edit | edit source]

Basic Phrases · Les expressions de base
bonjour, salut hello (formal), hi (informal)
Comment allez-vous ? (formal),
Comment vas-tu ? (informal),
Comment ça va ? / Ça va ? (informal)
(lit: How you go/How it goes?)
ça va (très) bien I'm doing (very) well (lit. It goes (very) well)
merci thank you
et toi ? et vous ? and you? (informal) and you? (formal)
pas mal not bad
bien well
pas si bien/pas très bien not so well
comme ci, comme ça so-so
Désolé(e) I'm sorry.
quoi de neuf ? what's up with you? (lit. what's new)
pas grand-chose not much (lit. no big-thing)
au revoir bye
à demain see you tomorrow (lit. at tomorrow)
à plus tard see you later
Au revoir, à demain. Bye, see you tomorrow

V: Numbers[edit | edit source]

Numbers · Les nombres
un 1 une unité (a unity)
deux 2  
trois 3  
quatre 4  
cinq 5  
six 6  
sept 7  
huit 8  
neuf 9  
dix 10 une dizaine (one ten)
onze 11  
douze 12 une douzaine (one dozen)
treize 13  
quatorze 14  
quinze 15  
seize 16  
dix-sept 17  
dix-huit 18  
dix-neuf 19  
vingt 20  
vingt et un 21  
vingt [deux - neuf] 22-29
trente 30  
trente et un 31  
trente [deux - neuf] 32-39  
quarante 40  
cinquante 50  
soixante 60  
soixante-dix 70  
soixante et onze 71  
soixante-[douze - dix-neuf] 72-79  
quatre-vingts 80  
quatre-vingt-un 81  
quatre-vingt-[deux - neuf] 82-89  
quatre-vingt-dix 90  
quatre-vingt-[onze - dix-neuf] 91-99  
cent 100 une centaine (one hundred)
[deux - neuf] cents 200-900  
deux cent un 201  
neuf cent un 901  
mille 1.000 un millier (one thousand)
(un) million 1.000.000  
(un) milliard  
(un) billion  

Things of note about numbers[edit | edit source]

  • For 70-79, it builds upon "soixante" but past that it builds upon a combination of terms for 80-99
  • Only the first (21,31,41,51,61 and 71, but not 81 nor 91) have "et un" without a hyphen; but past this it is simply both words consecutively (vingt-six, trente-trois, etc.) with a hyphen in between.
  • For 100-199, it looks much like this list already save that "cent" is added before the rest of the number; this continues up to 1000 and onward.

V: Asking for the day/date/time[edit | edit source]

Asking For The Day, Date, Time · Demander le jour, la date, le temps
Asking for the day.
1a Aujourd'hui c'est quel jour? Today is what day? (oh-zhur-dewee seh kehl zhoor)
1b Aujourd'hui c'est [jour]. Today is [day].
2a Demain c'est quel jour Tomorrow is what day? (duh-ma(n) seh kehl zhoor)
2b Demain c'est [jour]. Tomorrow is [day].
Asking for the date.
3a Quelle est la date
What is the date
(kehl eh lah daht)
3b C'est le [#] [month]. It's [month] [#].
Asking for the time.
4a Quelle heure est-il? What hour/time is it? (kehl ewr eh-teel)
4b Il est quelle heure? (eel eh kehl ewr)
5 Il est [nombre] heure(s). It is [number] hours. (eel eh [nombre] ewr)

V: Time[edit | edit source]

In French, “il est” is used to express the time; though it would literally translate as “he is”, it is actually, in this case, equivalent to “it is” (unpersonal "il"). Unlike in English, it is always important to use “heures” (“hours”) when referring to the time. In English, it is OK to say, “It’s nine,” but this wouldn’t make sense in French. The French time system traditionally uses a 24-hour scale. Shorthand for writing times in French follows the format "17h30", which would represent 5:30PM in English.

Time · Le temps
Quelle heure est-il ? What time is it?
Il est une heure. It is one o’clock.
Il est trois heures. It is three o’clock.
Il est dix heures. It is ten o’clock.
Il est midi. It is noon.
Il est minuit. It is midnight.
Il est quatre heures cinq. It is five past four.
Il est quatre heures et quart. It is a quarter past four.
Il est quatre heures quinze. It is four fifteen.
Il est quatre heures et demie. It is half past four.
Il est dix-neuf heures moins le quart. It is a quarter to seven, or six forty-five.
Il est quatre heures trente. It is four thirty.
Il est cinq heures moins vingt. It is twenty to five.
Il est quatre heures quarante. It is four forty.

V: The days of the week.[edit | edit source]

The days of the week · Les jours de la semaine
French Pronunciation English Origin
lundi /lœ̃di/ (luh(n)-dee) Monday (Moon)
mardi /maʁdi/ (mahr-dee) Tuesday (Mars)
mercredi /mɛʁkʁədi/ (mehr-kruh-dee) Wednesday (Mercury)
jeudi /ʒødi/ (zhur-dee) Thursday (Jupiter)
vendredi /vɑ̃dʁədi/ (vah(n)-druh-dee) Friday (Venus)
samedi /samdi/ (sahm-dee) Saturday (Saturn)
dimanche /dimɑ̃ʃ/ (dee-mah(n)sh) Sunday (Dies Domini)
  • The days of the week are not capitalized in French.
  • For phrases relating to the day of the week, see the phrasebook.


  • What day is it today? is equivalent to Quel jour sommes-nous ?.
  • Quel jour sommes-nous ? can be answered with Nous sommes..., C'est... or On est... (last two are less formal).
  • Nous sommes... is not used with hier, aujourd’hui, or demain. C'était (past) or C'est (present/future) must be used accordingly.

V: The months of the year[edit | edit source]

The months of the year · Les mois de l'année
French Pron. English
janvier /ʒɑ̃vje/ (zhah(n)-vyay) January
février /fevʁije/ (fay-vree-yay) February
mars /maʁs/ (mahrs) March
avril /avʁil/ (ahv-reel) April
mai /mɛ/ (meh) May
juin /ʒɥɛ̃/ (zhoo-a(n)) June
juillet /ʒɥijɛ/ (zhoo-ee-yeh) July
août /ut/, /u/ (oot/oo) August
septembre /sɛptɑ̃bʁ/ (sehp-tah(n)-br) September
octobre /ɔktɔbʁ/ (ohk-toh-br) October
novembre /nɔvɑ̃bʁ/ (noh-vah(n)-br) November
décembre /desɑ̃bʁ/ (day-sah(n)-br) December

V: Relative date and time[edit | edit source]

Relative Date and Time · Date et heure relatives
Times of Day
le lever du jour daybreak
lit:the rise of the day
le lever du soleil sunrise
lit: the rise of the sun
le soleil levant rising sun.
le matin morning
...du matin A.M., lit: of the mornng
hier matin yesterday morning
le midi noon, midday
l'après-midi (m) afternoon
le soir evening, in the evening
...du soir P.M. lit: of the evening
le coucher du soleil sunset
la nuit night
Relative Days
avant-hier the day before yesterday
hier yesterday
aujourd'hui today
ce soir tonight
demain tomorrow
après-demain the day after tomorrow

V: Seasons[edit | edit source]

The Seasons · Les Saisons
la saison /la sɛ.zɔ̃/ (lah seh-zoh(n)) season
le printemps Listen /lə pʁɛ̃.tɑ̃/ (luh pra(n)-taw(n)) Spring
l'été (m) /le.te/ (lay-tay) Summer
l'automne (m) /lo.tɔn/ (loh-tawn) Autumn
l'hiver (m) /li.vɛʁ/ (lee-vehr) Winter

Dialogue · A conversation between friends · Une conversation entre amis[edit | edit source]

Daniel Bonjour Hervé. Comment vas-tu ?
Hello, Hervé. How are you?
Hervé Je vais bien, merci. Et toi ça va ?
I'm good,1 thank you. And you, it goes (fine)?
Daniel Ça va bien. Est-ce que2 tu viens à mon anniversaire ? J'organise une petite fête.
It goes well. You're coming to my party? I'm organizing a little party.
Hervé C'est quand ?
When is it?
Daniel Le 3 mars à 20h.
March 3 at 08:00 PM.
Hervé Le 3 mars, entendu. Tu fais ça chez toi3 ?
March 3, agreed. You're having it at your place?
Daniel Oui c'est chez moi. J'ai invité une vingtaine d'amis. On va danser toute la nuit.
Yes, it's at my place. I have invited (a set of) twenty friends. We4 are going to dance all night.
Hervé C'est très gentil de m'inviter, merci. A bientôt.
It's very nice to invite me, thank you. So long.
Daniel A demain, bonne journée.
Until tomorrow, good day.

^1 Bien... is an adverb meaning well. Its adjective equivalent is bon(ne), which means good. Since je vais, meaning I go, uses an action verb,
the adverb bien is used. In English, I'm good, which uses the linking verb am, is followed by an adjective rather than an adverb.

^2 Est-ce que... doesn't mean anything (like the Spanish upside down question mark) and is used to start a question.
This can be used in a similar manner to do in English. Instead of You want it?, one can say Do you want it?

^3 chez... is a preposition meaning at the house of.... Chez moi is used to say at my place. Chez [name] is used to say at [name's] place.

^4 on... can mean we or one.