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.
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! :smile:
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|
|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|
|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|
|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.)
Note also that in both languages the words follow a similar pattern: 1st part + di/day, the only exception being dimanche/Sunday.
The names of the days of the week are not capitalized in French!
So what are the days of the week in French?
|Jours de la Semaine / Days of the Week|
|(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|
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).
The names of months are also not capitalized in French.
Here are the months:
|Mois de l'Année / Months of the Year|
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:
If you want to ask what today's date is, you can say:
|Aujourd'hui / Today|
|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|
|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|
|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|
|Avant-hier||The day before yesterday|
|Après-demain||The day after tomorrow|
|Dernier(s)/Dernière(s)||Last / Past|
L'année dernière (Last year)
Le mois dernier (Last month)
La semaine prochaine (Next week)
Le mois prochain (Next month)
Days, dates and times are very important, especially if you are on a schedule and need to catch planes or trains, meet people, etc. First, let's look at the days of the week.
Day of the Week
Mare cra dee
Juh (very soft "j")dee
Von druh dee
You already know some French days such as Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday, and you also may know Father Samedi from movies that have voodoo scenes. In French, when we ask what day it is, we say "It is which day today?". "C'est quel jour aujourd'hui?" (say kell jur (soft "j") oh jur du ee). The response is "C'est aujourd'hui lundi" (Sayt oh jur doo e luhn dee) or "C'est aujourd'hui lundi, le dix Decembre". "Today is Monday" or "Today is Monday, the 10th of December." (Sayt oh jur doo e luhn dee, luh deess day sahm bre) Now you have to try "It's Tuesday, the 6th of June", and so forth. Here are the first 30 numbers, and the months of the year so that you can put all of these together.
Vingt et un
Vant eh unh
Vant cat truh
The months of the year: January - Janvier (john vee ay) February - Fevrier (fev ree ay) March - Mars (marss) April - Avril (ah vril) May - Mai (may) June - Juin (ju ihn) July - Juillet (ju yay) August - Aout (oot) September - Septembre (set tom bruh) October - Octobre (oc tow bruh) November - Novembre (no vahm bruh) December - Decembre (day sahm bruh) Just start out with "C'est aujourd'hui" then go to each chart and pick a day of the week, a number and a month. Let's try out "It's Tuesday the 6th of June": C'est aujourd'hui le six Juin". Now pick out different days from the calendar and try it out yourself.
What Did We Learn?