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Days And Months In French: How To Tell The Date

French calendar and dates

Being able to tell the date in French (+ knowing the days and months) is something every French learner needs to know early on.

It is actually similar to English in structure but with some important differences.

In English, we can either say:

Tuesday, 29th May, 1984.

Or:

Tuesday, May 29th, 1984.

In French, it's important to understand that the units progress from smallest to largest.

So, although English can go from day of the week, month of the year, date and year (e.g. Tuesday, May 29th, 1984), French strictly goes day of the week, date, month of the year and year (e.g. Mardi, le 29 Mai, 1984). 

Just keep in mind the progression from smallest to largest and you'll be fine! 😄

Keep reading and I'll show you how to ask/answer what the date is, day of the week or month of the year in French.

If asked what the day is, here's how you can answer:

Aujourd’hui / Today
QuestionAnswer
1. Quel jour sommes-nous aujourd’hui?
  2. Quel jour est-on aujourd’hui?
3. On est quel jour aujourd’hui? (informal)
Aujourd’hui c’est mardi. (Today it’s Tuesday.)
Aujourd’hui on est dimanche. (Today we’re Sunday.)
Aujourd’hui nous sommes jeudi. (Today we’re Thursday.)

If you're asking about a day in the future (e.g. "What day will it be?"), you can say:

Futur / Future
QuestionAnswer
1. Quel jour serons-nous?
  2. Quel jour est-ce que ce sera?
3. Ce sera quel jour? (informal)
Ce sera mardi. (It will be Tuesday.)
On sera lundi. (We will be Monday.)
Nous serons mercredi. (We will be Wednesday.)

If it's a day in the past (e.g. "What day was it?"), you can say:

Passé / Past
QuestionAnswer
1. Quel jour étions-nous?
2. Quel jour était-ce?
3. C’était quel jour? (informal)
C’était lundi. (It was Monday.)
On était jeudi. (We were Thursday.)
Nous étions mardi. (We were Tuesday.)

Days of the week in French

Note also that in both languages the words follow a similar pattern:  1st part + di/day, the only exception being dimanche/Sunday. 

So what are the days of the week in French?

Jours de la Semaine / Days of the Week
FrançaisEnglish
(Aujourd’hui nous sommes) lundi(Today we’re) Monday
(Aujourd’hui on est)  mardi(Today it’s) Tuesday
(On sera) mercredi(It will be) Wednesday
(Ce sera) jeudi(It will be) Thursday
(C’était)  vendredi(It was) Friday
(On était) samedi(It was) Saturday
dimancheSunday

Months of the year in French

In order to ask for (or provide) a date, you obviously need to know the names of the months in French.

Thankfully, the English and French month names look very similar (same etymological origin).

Here are the months:

Mois de l’Année / Months of the Year
FrançaisEnglish
janvierJanuary
févrierFebruary
marsMarch
avrilApril
maiMay
juinJune
juilletJuly
aoûtAugust
septembreSeptember
octobreOctober
novembreNovember
décembreDecember

Asking and answering the date in French

In French, the day of the month is always a cardinal number except for the first (le premier).

You'll precede this with the definite article le (just as you do in English).

Here are some examples:

  1. Le premier janvier 
  2. Le 2 février 
  3. Le 3 mars 
  4. Le 4 avril

If you want to ask what today’s date is, you can say:

Aujourd’hui / Today
QuestionAnswer
1. Quelle est la date aujourd’hui?
2. On est quelle date aujourd’hui? (informal)
Aujourd’hui c’est [day] le + [date] + [month] + [year]
Aujourd’hui on est [day] le + [date] + [month] + [year]
Aujourd’hui nous sommes [day] le + [date] + [month] + [year]

If you want to ask about a date in the future (e.g. "what date will it be"), here's how you do it:

Futur / Future
QuestionAnswer
1. Quelle sera la date?
  2. Quelle date est-ce que ce sera?
3. Ce sera quelle date? (informal)
Ce sera [day], le + [date] + [month] + [year]
On sera [day], le + [date] + [month] + [year]
Nous serons (day of the week), le + day of the month + month (+ year)

For a date in the past (e.g. "what date was it?"), try saying:

Passé / Past
QuestionAnswer
1. Quelle était la date?
2. Quelle date était-ce?
3. C’était quelle date? (informal)
C’était [day], le + [date] + [month] + [year]
On était [day], le + [date] + [month] + [year]
Nous étions [day], le + [date] + [month] + [year]

Here's some additional vocab to help you ask and tell the date:

Additional Useful French Vocab
Aujourd’huiToday
HierYesterday
DemainTomorrow
Avant-hierThe day before yesterday
Après-demainThe day after tomorrow
  Dernier(s)/Dernière(s)Last / Past
  Prochain(s)/Prochaine(s)Next

Examples:

L’année dernière (Last year)

Le mois dernier (Last month)

La semaine prochaine (Next week)

Le mois prochain (Next month)


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