Languages › French French Vocabulary Lesson: Quantities, Weights, and Measures Learn How to Quantify Things in French Share Flipboard Email Print Philippe TURPIN/Photononstop/Getty Images French Vocabulary Pronunciation & Conversation Grammar Resources For Teachers by ThoughtCo Updated January 30, 2019 As you learn French, you will want to learn how to describe things in terms of quantity. From basic weights and measures to adverbs describing how many or how much, by the end of this vocabulary lesson, you will have a good understanding of quantifying things. This lesson is for an intermediate level student as some of it discusses concepts like conjugating verbs and the adverbs used to define quantities. However, with a little study and practice, any student of French can follow the lesson. Quantities, Weights, and Measures (Les Quantités, les Poids et les Mesures) To begin the lesson, let's look at easy French words that describe simple quantities, weights, and measurements. can, box, tin une boîte de bottle une bouteille de box un carton de tablespoon une cuillère à soupe de teaspoon une cuillère à thé de gram un gramme kilogram un kilogramme deun kilo de liter un litre de pound une livre de mile un mille foot un pied jar, cup un pot de inch un pouce cup une tasse de glass un verre de Adverbs of Quantity (Adverbes de quantité) French adverbs of quantity explain how many or how much. Adverbs of quantity (except très - very) are often followed by de + noun. When this happens, the noun usually does not have an article in front of it; i.e., de stands alone, with no definite article.* There are a lot of problems. - Il y a beaucoup de problèmes. I have fewer students than Thierry. - J'ai moins d'étudiants que Thierry. *This does not apply to the starred adverbs below, which are always followed by the definite article. Exception: When the noun after de refers to specific people or things, the definite article is used and contracts with de just as the partitive article would. Compare the following sentences to the above examples to see what is meant by 'specific'. A lot of the problems are serious. - Beaucoup des problèmes sont graves.- We are referring to specific problems, not problems in general.Few of Thierry's students are here. - Peu des étudiants de Thierry sont ici.- This is a specific group of students, not students in general. To further your understanding of the adverbs used with quantities, read: Du, De La, Des… Expressing Unspecified Quantities In French. Verb conjugations may be singular or plural, depending on the number of the noun that follows.Approximate numbers (see below) like une douzaine, une centaine follow the same rules. quite, fairly, enough assez (de) as much, as many autant (de) a lot, many beaucoup (de) quite a few bien de* how many, much combien (de) more davantage more encore de* around, approximately environ the majority of la majorité de* the minority of la minorité de* less, fewer moins (de) a number of un nombre de quite a few pas mal de few, little, not very (un) peu (de) most la plupart de* more plus (de) a lot of une quantité de only seulement so si so much, so many tant (de) so tellement very très too much, too many trop (de) Approximate Numbers (Nombres approximatifs) When you want to make an estimate or take a guess, you can use approximate numbers. Most approximate French numbers are formed with the cardinal number, minus the final e (if there is one), plus the suffix -aine. about eight [days] (about a week) une huitaine about ten (note that x in dix changes to z) une dizaine a dozen une douzaine about fifteen [days] (about two weeks) une quinzaine about twenty une vingtaine about thirty une trentaine about forty une quarantaine about fifty une cinquantaine about sixty une soixantaine about a hundred une centaine about a thousand un millier Approximate numbers are treated grammatically as expressions of quantity. Like all expressions of quantity, approximate numbers must be joined to the noun they modify with de. about 10 students - une dizaine d'étudiants about 40 books - une quarantaine de livres hundreds of cars - des centaines de voitures thousands of documents - des milliers de documents Note that in English, it's typical to talk about "dozens" of something, whereas in French it's more natural to say dizaines rather than the literal equivalent douzaines: dozens of ideas - des dizaines d'idées Continue Reading Learn French Adverbs of Quantity French Articles Can Be Confusing — Here's How to Make Sense of Them Learn About French Determiners These Are the 10 Most Common Intermediate-Level French Mistakes Common Mistakes in French: Beaucoup des French Adverbs Are No Mystery: Here's How to Identify and Place Them Learn How to Express Specific Quantities in French Tips to Improve Your French Vocabulary How to Best Use My "Learn French In Context" Lessons How and When to Use the French Present Participle French Superlative Adverbs - Adverbs Superlatifs The 9 Best Podcasts for Learning French in 2019 How to Use the French Expression "Pas de Problème" Best French Grammar Books for Students to Buy Keep the Conversation Going in French With These Phrases How Do You Express 'Sickness' in French?