Counting in French
French (français) is an indo-european language belonging to the romance group. Official language in 29 countries, including France, Belgium (with Dutch and German), Switzerland (with German, Italian and Romansh) and Canada (with English), it is spoken by about 80 million native speakers.
The French language used in France is also known as international French to distinguish it from its local varieties. Canadian French, Belgian French or Swiss French to name a few have different pronunciation, some vernacular vocabulary, and they may also differ in some gramatical rules.
Their numbering rules are the same nonetheless, even if some numbers are different. For example, septante (for soixante-dix) is used in both Belgium and Switzerland, but not in France, nor in any other French-speaking country.
French numbers list
- 1 – un
- 2 – deux
- 3 – trois
- 4 – quatre
- 5 – cinq
- 6 – six
- 7 – sept
- 8 – huit
- 9 – neuf
- 10 – dix
- 11 – onze
- 12 – douze
- 13 – treize
- 14 – quatorze
- 15 – quinze
- 16 – seize
- 17 – dix-sept
- 18 – dix-huit
- 19 – dix-neuf
- 20 – vingt
- 30 – trente
- 40 – quarante
- 50 – cinquante
- 60 – soixante
- 70 – soixante-dix
- 80 – quatre-vingts
- 90 – quatre-vingt-dix
- 100 – cent
- 1,000 – mille
- one million – un million
- one billion – un milliard
- one trillion – un billion
French numbering rules
- Digits and numbers from zero to sixteen are specific words, namely zéro , un (une in its feminine form) , deux , trois , quatre , cinq , six , sept , huit , neuf , dix , onze , douze , treize , quatorze , quinze , seize . Seventeen to nineteen are regular numbers, i.e. named after the word for ten followed by a hyphen and the unit (dix-sept [10+7], dix-huit [10+8], dix-neuf [10+9].
- The tens are specific words too from ten to sixty, namely dix , vingt , trente , quarante , cinquante  and soixante .
- From sixty-one to ninety-nine, the base 20 is used (this vigesimal system seems to be an inheritance from Celtic languages), hence soixante-dix [60+10], soixante-dix-neuf [60+10+9], quatre-vingts [4*20], quatre-vingt-dix [4*20+10].
- Tens and units are joined with a hyphen (e.g.: quarante-six ), unless the unit is a one. In that case, the word et (and) is inserted between tens and units (e.g.: quarante et un ).
- Vingt (twenty) and cent (hundred) are set to the plural form when multiplied by a number greater than one while ending the number (e.g.: mille deux cents [1,200], but deux cent quarante-six ), or when they are directly before the big scale names as million, milliard (billion, 109)… (e.g.: six cents millions [600,000,000]).
- French language uses the long scale for big numbers where every new word greater than a million is one million times bigger than the previous term. Thus, un milliard is 109 (the US billion), and un billion (1012) worths a thousand US billions.
Write a number in full in French
Enter a number and get it written in full in French.
Schaum’s Outline of French Grammar, 5ed
by Mary Crocker, editors McGraw-Hill (2008)
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A Comprehensive French Grammar
by Glanville Price, editors Wiley-Blackwell (2007)
French Grammar: A Complete Reference Guide
by Daniel Calvez, editors McGraw-Hill (2004)
Le petit Grevisse
by Maurice Grevisse, editors Duculot Louvain (2009)
Nouvelle grammaire française
by Maurice Grevisse, André Goosse, editors Duculot Louvain (1994)
Gramática Essencial de Francês
by Michelle Cahuzac, Christine Stefaner-Contis, editors Editorial Presença (2008)
Idioms with numbers
Un point à temps en vaut cent
A stitch in time saves nine (word for word: a stitch in time worths one hundred).
In other words, doing your work at the right time can save a lot of work later.
Être tiré à quatre épingles
To be dressed to the nines (literally, to be stretched with four pins).
Pins are used by tailors to stretch the fabric and avoid any fold.
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