You might think that the numbers 1 to 100 in French are a piece of cake and that knowing how to count is just as easy as in English… Well, you would only think so if you had never encountered French numbers! The worldwide web is keen on making fun of the way French people are counting… Let’s learn how to count from one to a hundred in French right now!
On top of this post, click on the podcast in order to hear the right prononciation, and train by repeating after me 🙂
First of all, let’s separate the enumeration into two distinctive groups : from 1 to 69 on one side and from 70 to 100 on the other one. The first group is quite common, just figures to learn by heart, nothing quirky. However, the second group is quite tricky and I am aware that those can be difficult to remember and to learn by heart. Good luck 🙂
Numbers 1 to 69
As indicated above, nothing hard here. The only thing is to remember those by heart. Don’t hesitate to write those numbers down and to stick it all over your house so that you can review it when cooking, when showering or even in the bathroom! (For more tips to learn French faster, read this article 🙂 )
Numbers 70 to 100
And now, this is getting serious! But I promise, IT IS GONNA BE OK ! Have a good laugh here before getting to it.
Ready ? Let’s start dissecting the below numbers.
Seventy in French is literally built this way : Soixante (60) – dix (10). It is like an addition but you don’t say plus or anything else than the numbers. For the following numbers until 79, you just keep counting like you already learnt beforehand from 10 to 19 (with the word soixante before). Understood? Easy 🙂
Eighty literally translates as : Quatre (4) – vingts (20). This time, it is not an addition that is implied but a multiplication (I know nothing logical here! Sorry, not my fault). And then, until 89, you just add un, deux, trois,… to quatre-vingts. HOWEVER, be careful, as quatre-vingts (80) takes an “s” at the end of vingt but does not anymore when you add a number after it, ok ?
Here again, I don’t get the logic! Quatre (4)- vingt (20) – dix (10) : quite funny but quite tricky for foreigners. And the following numbers are to be formed with onze, douze, treize,…
All the numbers are below. In order to remember it, repeating it out loud is key. You can make it!
|89. Quatre- vingt-neuf|
Diversity in French-speaking countries
As you know if you read this article, I moved to the Swiss border (on the French side) a few years ago. What struck me here was the difference in the language. We speak the same language on both sides of the border, but some words are absolutely different! Numbers are among those differences.
In Switzerland, as well as in Belgium, people don’t use soixante-dix (70), quatre-vingts (80) or quatre-vingt-dix (90), but they use septante (70), huitante (80) and nonante (90) and you actually build it just like the other tens, like for instance septante-et-un, septante-deux, septante-trois,… It is quite logical but super confusing for me!
I hope this article made the numbers 1 to 100 in French a bit more understandable. Next step? Learn it by heart!
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