French Numbers

By optilingo

Learn how to count in French. This free online French lesson covers French numbers, including both French cardinals and French ordinals.

Counting is one skill you will use often when learning a foreign language. Numbers in French are pretty easy to learn – especially if you already speak English. Like many languages around the world, French cardinal numbers use the Arabic number system, just like English. So the number “1” is written exactly the same in French as it is in English, as are all the other numbers.

So why did I use that fancy word, “French cardinal number” before? Well that’s because in every language, cardinal numbers and ordinal numbers are totally different, and this represents a challenge for every students, at least at the beginning. But do not worry, challenges in language learning are there to be overcome, and with practice, everybody can master French numbers.

So, let’s begin by learning what exactly means to talk about an ordinal number or about a cardinal number. French cardinal numbers are regular mathematical numbers like 1, 2, 5, 50, 500, 1,047 and so on. French cardinal numbers count specific items and are used in mathematics.

Cardinal numbers in French are easy to learn, especially if you use the following table:

0

zéro

10

dix

20

vingt

300

trois cents

1

un, une

11

onze

30

trente

400

quatre cents

2

deux

12

douze

40

quarante

500

cinq cents

3

trois

13

treize

50

cinquante

600

six cents

4

quatre

14

quatorze

60

soixante

700

sept cents

5

cinq

15

quinze

70

soixante-dix

800

huit cents

6

six

16

seize

80

quatre vingts

900

neuf cents

7

sept

17

dix-sept

90

quatre vingt-dix

1000

mille

8

huit

18

dix-huit

100

cent

10,000

dix mille

9

nuef

19

dix-neuf

200

deux cents

100,000

cent mille

French ordinal numbers, on the other hand, are not used to count, but to show order. Ordinal numbers also exist in English, and as in any other language, they are used to describe a list of things. Examples of ordinal numbers in English are “first” and “second” and “fifth” and so on.

Here’s a short list of ordinal numbers in the French language:

First: premier/première

Second: deuxième

Third: troisième

Fourth: quatrième

Fifth: cinquième

Sixth: sixième

Seventh: septième

Eight: huitième

Ninth: neuvième

Tenth: dixième

Twentieth: vingtième

Thirtieth: trentième

Fortieth: quarantième

Fiftieth: cinquantième

Sixtieth: soixantième

Seventieth: septième

Eightieth: quatre-vingtième

Ninetieth: quatre-vingt-dixième

To form other ordinal numbers, you simply add the ending of -ième to the regular cardinal numbers.

11th: onzième

24th: vingt-quatrième

45th:quarante cinquième

99th:quatre-vingt-onzième

Finally, it is important to know that in French, we use the cardinal numbers to describe dates or names of monarchs. Only in the case of premier/première do we use ordinal numbers instead. For instance, le premier mai vs. le douze octobre.

Ordinal numbers can be written out by putting a superscript e next to the number: 4e