Days and months in French
Asking for and giving the date
When you want to give a date, you say the day, then the number and then the month.
In French, you don’t need to change the numbers from cardinal numbers (five, 16, 20 and so on) to ordinal numbers (such as fifth, 16th, 20th, and so on) when you are talking about the date.
To ask what the date is today, say Quelle est la date aujourd'hui? To reply say:
- Aujourd'hui, c'est le jeudi cinq avril - Today is Thursday, 5th April.
You could also say:
- Aujourd'hui, on est le jeudi cinq avril - Today is Thursday, 5th April.
The only exception to this rule is the number one, which is premier, not un:
- Aujourd’hui, c’est le mardi premier mai - Today is Monday, 1st May.
Days and months don’t need capital letters in French.
For more useful vocabulary, such as numbers, days of the week and months of the year, click on the downloadable vocabulary list below:
The date in the past and the future
To ask what the date will be tomorrow, you need to use the future tense. On sera means ‘will be’:
- Quelle sera la date de demain? - What will the date be tomorrow?
To reply, again use the future tense and then give the day or date:
- Demain, on sera le … - Tomorrow will be…
- Demain, on sera le dimanche vingt-neuf juillet - Tomorrow will be Sunday, 29th July.
If you want to ask what the date was yesterday, use the imperfect tense était (was):
- Quelle était la date d'hier? - What was the date yesterday?
As a response, you need to use on était (it was):
- Hier, on était le… - Yesterday (it) was…
- Hier, on était le mercredi vingt-huit août - Yesterday (it) was Wednesday, 28th August.
Describing when you do activities
To talk about an activity you do on the same day every week, use le and then say the day:
- Le lundi, je joue au tennis - On Mondays/Every Monday, I play tennis.
- Le mardi, Clément travaille au café - On Tuesdays/Every Tuesday, Clément works at the café.
To say that you did something or that you are going to do something on a particular day, you just say the day and then use the correct tense to talk about the activity:
- Vendredi dernier, j’ai joué du piano - Last Friday, I played the piano.
- Mercredi, je vais faire du judo - On Wednesday, I’m going to do judo.
Talking about your birthday
To ask the question ‘when is your birthday?’ in French, you can say ‘what is the date of your birthday?’
- Quelle est la date de ton anniversaire? - When is your birthday?
Or, to make it simpler, you could say:
- C’est quand, ton anniversaire? - When is your birthday?
Reply by saying ‘my birthday, it is’ and then the date of your birthday.
- Mon anniversaire, c’est le six septembre - My birthday (it) is on 6th September.
Remember to use cardinal numbers (six, 12, etc.) rather than ordinal numbers (sixth, 12th, etc), except when you’re talking about the 1st of the month (when you use le premier):
- Mon anniversaire, c’est le premier février - My birthday is on 1st February.
Other people’s birthdays
When talking about someone else’s birthday, you need to say l’anniversaire de, which means ‘the birthday of’.
- Quelle est la date de l’anniversaire de ton père? - When is your dad’s birthday? (Literally, ‘what is the date of the birthday of your dad’.)
Or to simplify, you can also say:
C’est quand, l’anniversaire de ton père? - When is your dad’s birthday?
L'anniversaire de Jeremy, c’est le deux avril - Jeremy’s birthday is on 2nd April. (Literally, ‘the birthday of Jeremy, it is 2nd April.)
Find out how much you know about days and months in French in this short quiz.
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