Expressing dates in French

Take a look at the way to express dates in French:

le 24 janvier 201224th January, 2012

le 3 mars 2013 3rd March, 2013

Here's the general structure:

le + number + month + year

"Le" 

Don't forget the definite article le before the date. 
Note that dates are always masculine, so it's never la.

ATTENTION: 
You say le onze and NOT l'onze :

le 11 juillet  
le onze juillet
11th of July
 

 

Number

The main difference between dates in English and in French is the numbers we use: 

English dates use ordinal numbers (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th...) while French dates require cardinal numbers (un (1), deux (2), trois (3), quatre (4)...) and NOT deuxième (2e), troisième (3e), quatrième (4e)...


EXCEPTION: 

For the 1st day of the month ONLY, we do use the ordinal number le premier (1er) = the first (1st).
le 1er avril 19971st of April 1997

 

Month

In French, months don't take a capital letter :

janvier mai septembre
février juin octobre
mars juillet novembre
avril août décembre 

 

Year

In French, there are two ways to read years from before 2000:

- as a full number, reading the thousands + hundreds + tens + units
e.g  1465

1615 (mille six cent quinze)1615 (sixteen fifteen -> literally "one thousand six hundred fifteen")

1776 (mille sept cent soixante-seize)1776 (seventeen seventy-six -> literally "one thousand seven hundred seventy-six")

984 (neuf cent quatre-vingt-quatre)984 (nine *hundred* eighty-four)

1900 (mille neuf cents)1900 (nineteen hundred -> literally "one thousand nine hundred")

by splitting it at the "hundreds" (similarly to English), reading the hundreds + tens + units
e.g  1465

1615 (seize cent quinze)1615 (sixteen *hundred* fifteen)

1776 (dix-sept cent soixante-seize)1776 (seventeen *hundred* seventy-six)

984 (neuf cent quatre-vingt-quatre)984 (nine *hundred* eighty-four)

1900 (dix-neuf cents)1900 (nineteen hundred)

Note that in French, you always need the word cent in this case.
You cannot say : dix-sept vingt  (1720)

 

As for the years post 2000's,

There is only one way to read them, and that is as a full number:

2003 (deux mille trois)2003

2013 (deux mille treize)2013 (twenty thirteen -> literally "two thousand thirteen")

  

Want to make sure your French sounds confident? We’ll map your knowledge and give you free lessons to focus on your gaps and mistakes. Start your Braimap today »

Examples and resources

le 13 juin13th of June
1900 (mille neuf cents)1900 (nineteen hundred -> literally "one thousand nine hundred")
le 24 janvier 201224th January, 2012
1615 (seize cent quinze)1615 (sixteen *hundred* fifteen)
le 7 février 20127th of February 2012
1615 (mille six cent quinze)1615 (sixteen fifteen -> literally "one thousand six hundred fifteen")
le 3 mars 2013 3rd March, 2013
2003 (deux mille trois)2003
1776 (mille sept cent soixante-seize)1776 (seventeen seventy-six -> literally "one thousand seven hundred seventy-six")
le 11 juillet  
le onze juillet
11th of July
2013 (deux mille treize)2013 (twenty thirteen -> literally "two thousand thirteen")
le 10 septembre 200910th of September 2009
1900 (dix-neuf cents)1900 (nineteen hundred)
984 (neuf cent quatre-vingt-quatre)984 (nine *hundred* eighty-four)
Halloween est le 31 octobre.Halloween is October 31st.
1776 (dix-sept cent soixante-seize)1776 (seventeen *hundred* seventy-six)

exception with 1st


le 1er avril 19971st of April 1997
Let me take a look at that...