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French terms for describing time and dates

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When learning French, mastering the vocabulary for describing time and dates is essential, as these terms come up in everyday conversation. Below are key French terms you’ll need to know, complete with their definitions and example sentences.

Heure
The word “heure” translates to “hour” in English. It is used to tell time, referring to both the hour of the day and the general concept of time.

Quelle heure est-il ? (What time is it?)

Minute
“Minute” is the same in both French and English and indicates sixty seconds of time.

Attends une minute, s’il te plaît. (Wait a minute, please.)

Seconde
In French, a “seconde” is a second, which is a brief moment of time, exactly like the English equivalent.

Une seconde, je finis juste quelque chose. (One second, I’m just finishing something.)

Jour
“Jour” means “day” and refers to a 24-hour period. It can also refer to the daytime as opposed to the night.

Le jour de son anniversaire est un mardi. (Her birthday is on a Tuesday.)

Semaine
A “semaine” is a week in French. This term is used to describe a sequence of seven days.

Nous partons en vacances pour une semaine. (We are going on vacation for a week.)

Mois
The term “mois” stands for “month” and refers to one of the twelve divisions of the year.

Mon anniversaire est en juin, le sixième mois de l’année. (My birthday is in June, the sixth month of the year.)

Année
An “année” means “year” in French. It defines a period of twelve months beginning on January 1st and ending on December 31st.

Chaque nouvelle année, je prends des résolutions. (Every new year, I make resolutions.)

Date
“Date” is used in French as it is in English to refer to a specific day in terms of day, month, and year.

Quelle est la date aujourd’hui ? (What is the date today?)

Hier
This term translates to “yesterday.” It specifies the day before the current day.

Hier, il a beaucoup plu. (Yesterday, it rained a lot.)

Aujourd’hui
Literally translating to “today,” “aujourd’hui” indicates the current day.

Aujourd’hui, il fait beau. (Today, the weather is nice.)

Demain
“Demain” means “tomorrow,” referring to the day after today.

Nous nous verrons demain matin. (We will see each other tomorrow morning.)

Maintenant
Meaning “now,” “maintenant” is used to refer to the present moment.

Je suis occupé maintenant. (I am busy now.)

Tôt
This word translates to “early,” as in early in the day or early in any given time period.

Je me lève tôt tous les jours. (I get up early every day.)

Tard
Conversely, “tard” means “late.” It can describe something happening later than expected or late in the day.

Il est arrivé tard à la réunion. (He arrived late to the meeting.)

Understanding these terms and how to use them in the correct context is an essential part of conversing smoothly in French. Practice using them in sentences to improve your fluency. Bon apprentissage – happy learning!

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