French Numbers - Nombres

father practicing counting with son
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Learn how to count in French—you can click on the links to hear the pronunciation of each number. Repeat the numbers to yourself a few times; you'll be surprised at how quick it is to memorize them.

The Numbers from 0 to 19


0   zéro
1   un
2   deux
3   trois
4   quatre
5   cinq
6   six
7   sept
8   huit
9   neuf
10   dix

11   onze
12   douze
13   treize
14   quatorze
15   quinze
16   seize
17   dix-sept
18   dix-huit
19   dix-neuf

 

Learning the Numbers 20 to 59

For the French numbers 20 through 59, counting is just like in English: the tens word ( vingt, trente, quarante, etc.) followed by the ones word ( un, deux, trois). The only difference is that for 21, 31, 41, etc., the word et (and) is introduced between the tens word and "one": vingt et un, trente et un, quarante et un, etc.

20    vingt
21    vingt et un
22    vingt-deux
23    vingt-trois
24    vingt-quatre
25    vingt-cinq
26    vingt-six
27    vingt-sept
28    vingt-huit
29    vingt-neuf

30    trente
31    trente et un
32    trente-deux
33    trente-trois
34    trente-quatre
35    trente-cinq
36    trente-six
37    trente-sept
38    trente-huit
39    trente-neuf

40    quarante
41    quarante et un
42    quarante-deux
43    quarante-trois
44    quarante-quatre
45    quarante-cinq
46    quarante-six
47    quarante-sept
48    quarante-huit
49    quarante-neuf

50    cinquante
51    cinquante et un
52    cinquante-deux
53    cinquante-trois
55    cinquante-quatre
55    cinquante-cinq
56    cinquante-six
57    cinquante-sept
58    cinquante-huit
59    cinquante-neuf

Numbers 60 to 79

The French numbers 60 to 69 follow the same rules as 20 to 59.

60    soixante
61    soixante et un
62    soixante-deux
63    soixante-trois
64    soixante-quatre
65    soixante-cinq
66    soixante-six
67    soixante-sept
68    soixante-huit
69    soixante-neuf

But then when 70 rolls around, instead of a new "tens" word, soixante is kept and the "ones" word continues counting from 10:

70    soixante-dix
71    soixante et onze
72    soixante-douze
73    soixante-treize
74    soixante-quatorze
75    soixante-quinze
76    soixante-seize
77    soixante-dix-sept
78    soixante-dix-huit
79    soixante-dix-neuf

So 70, soixante-dix in French, is literally "sixty-ten." 71 is soixante et onze (sixty and eleven), 72 is soixante-douze (sixty-twelve), and so on, up to 79.

In some French-speaking areas, such as Belgium and Switzerland, "seventy" is septante.

Learning 80 to 99

There is no word for "eighty" in standard French,* instead 80 is quatre-vingts, literally four-twenties (think "four-score"). 81 is quatre-vingt-un (four-twenty-one), 82 is quatre-vingt-deux (four-twenty-two), and so on, all the way up to 89.

80   quatre-vingts
81   quatre-vingt-un
82   quatre-vingt-deux
83   quatre-vingt-trois
84   quatre-vingt-quatre
85   quatre-vingt-cinq
86   quatre-vingt-six
87   quatre-vingt-sept
88   quatre-vingt-huit
89   quatre-vingt-neuf

There's no word for ninety either, so you continue using quatre-vingt and adding from ten. 90 is quatre-vingt-dix (four-twenty-ten), 91 is quatre-vingt-onze (four-twenty-eleven), etc.

90   quatre-vingt-dix
91   quatre-vingt-onze
92   quatre-vingt-douze
93   quatre-vingt-treize
94   quatre-vingt-quatorze
95   quatre-vingt-quinze
96   quatre-vingt-seize
97   quatre-vingt-dix-sept
98   quatre-vingt-dix-huit
99   quatre-vingt-dix-neuf

*Once again, Switzerland and Belgium are exceptions. In Switzerland, 80 is huitante, but it's still quatre-vingts in Belgium. (You might also hear the archaic word octante in Switzerland or the South of France.) In both Switzerland and Belgium, 90 is nonante.
 

100 and Above

In French, 100 to 999 work just like in English - just say how many hundreds and then add the other numbers. Note that when cent is at the end of the number, it takes an s, but when it's followed by another number, the s is dropped.

100   cent
101   cent un
125   cent vingt-cinq

200   deux cents
201   deux cent un
243   deux cent quarante-trois

1,000+ are also similar to English, but there are a few things to note:

  • The separator is a period or space, rather than a comma (learn more)
  • Mille never takes an s, but million and milliard do
  • When reciting a long number, you can pause to take a breath at the separator (after mille, million, or milliard)
  • When million and milliard are followed by a noun, you need de in between: un million de dollars - a million dollars

1,000   mille - 1 000 or 1.000
2,000   deux mille - 2 000 or 2.000
2,500   deux mille cinq cents - 2 500 or 2.500
10,498   dix mille quatre cent quatre-vingt-dix-huit - 10.498 or 10 498

1,000,000   un million
2,000,000   deux millions
3,800,107   trois millions huit cent mille cent sept - 3.800.107 or 3 800 107

a billion   un milliard

Pronunciation notes

 

Now, practice your French number skills using a quiz. 
 

Expressions With Numbers

à la une - on the front page

chercher midi à 14 heures - to make something more complicated

le cinq à sept - afternoon tryst

couper les cheveux en quatre - to split hairs, quibble; to tell (someone) a few home truths

dormir sur ses deux oreilles - to sleep like a baby

faire d'une pierre deux coups - to kill two birds with one stone

haut comme trois pommes - knee-high to a grasshopper

tourner sept fois sa langue dans sa bouche - to think long and hard before speaking; one of these days

Un tiens vaut mieux que deux tu l'auras - A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush

se mettre sur son trente et un - to get dressed to the nines

 

Pronunciation Notes

The consonants at the end of the French numbers cinqsixhuit, and dix are pronounced when at the end of a sentence or in front of a vowel. However, they drop the final sound when followed by a word beginning with a consonant (such as centfoismois, or livres). For example, dix is normally pronounced [dees] and dix élèves is [dee zay lehv], but dix livres is pronounced [dee leevr(eu)]. Also, huit is normally pronounced [weet] and huit enfants is [wee ta(n) fa(n)], but huit cents is pronounced [wee sa(n)].

Note that the x at the end of six and dix, which is pronounced [s] at the end of a sentence, changes to [z] in front of vowels due to liaison.

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Lawless, Laura K. "French Numbers - Nombres." ThoughtCo, Oct. 24, 2017, thoughtco.com/french-numbers-nombres-1372760. Lawless, Laura K. (2017, October 24). French Numbers - Nombres. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/french-numbers-nombres-1372760 Lawless, Laura K. "French Numbers - Nombres." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/french-numbers-nombres-1372760 (accessed December 17, 2017).