Dates

Dates in French
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Les dates

If you ever write letters, make plans, or request appointments, this lesson will be invaluable. There are a few little formulas to memorize in French, but otherwise, dates are very easy to talk about.

Asking about the date

Quelle est la date ?   What’s the date?
Quelle est la date aujourd’hui ?   What’s today’s date?
Nous sommes le combien aujourd’hui ? (formal)
On est le combien aujourd’hui ?
(informal)
Quelle est la date de (ton anniversaire, la fête…) ?   What date is (your birthday, the party…)?

  The only possible translation of "what" here is the interrogative adjective quelle; you can’t say qu’est-ce que la date or qu’est-ce qui est la date. More about this in a future lesson.

Talking about the date

Here’s the basic formula to indicate a date: le (definite article) + cardinal number + month (+ year)

Par exemple…

Le 31 novembre n’existe pas.   There is no November 31.
Nous avons acheté la maison le 15 avril 2013.   We bought our house on April 15, 2013.

  American English speakers take note: the number must precede the month in French. This is particularly important to remember when writing the short form of dates:

le 12 octobre 12/10
le 10 décembre 10/12

For the first day of any month, the formula is slightly different – the ordinal number is used instead:

  • le premier + month (+ year)
  • le 1er + month (+ year)

Par exemple…

Le 1er mai est un jour férié en France.   May 1st is a holiday in France.
Je vais y aller le premier décembre 2014.   I’m going on December 1st 2014.

To talk about today’s date, you just need to add a couple of words to the above formula:

  • C’est le + cardinal number + month (+ year)
  • Nous sommes le + cardinal number + month (+ year) (informal)
  • On est le + cardinal number + month (+ year) (informal)

Par exemple…

Aujourd’hui, c’est le 8 septembre 2014.   It’s September 8, 2014.
Nous sommes le 1er février aujourd’hui.   It’s February 1st today.

Dates with days of the week

If you want to include the day of the week of the date in question, the formulas are as follows:

  • C’est le + day + cardinal number + month (+ year)
  • Nous sommes le + day + cardinal number + month (+ year) (informal)
  • On est le + day + cardinal number + month (+ year) (informal)
Aujourd’hui, c’est le lundi 8 septembre.   It’s Monday, September 8.
Nous sommes le vendredi 1er février aujourd’hui.   It’s Friday, February 1st today.

French expressions

 Related lessons

French lesson plans French lesson plan

Learn Spanish En español

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French dates

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