French Numbers: How To Count To 100

Don’t get stuck counting on your fingers!
August 23, 2018
French Numbers: How To Count To 100

You’re in Paris and want to order 53 baguettes when suddenly you realize you don’t know how to say “53.” What a horrible faux pas! You’ll have to order only trois, because that’s the only one of the French numbers you remember. Yes, that’s probably not something that’ll actually happen, but numbers do come up a lot in regular life. You’ll definitely want to learn the numbers up to at least a hundred before you make your trip to a French-speaking country. Here’s a quick guide to French numbers up to 100, which should help you along.

We could just list all of the French numbers 1 to 100, but that wouldn’t explain the logic behind it. So instead, we’ll start with the numbers you need to know, and then show you how to put it all together.

French Numbers: Counting From Zero To Twenty In French

Why count to twenty instead of ten? Well, like many languages, the teens work differently. In English, for example, “eleven” would technically make more sense if it was called “ten-one” to mirror “twenty-one.” With French numbers, a similar thing happens.

zero — zéro

one — un

two — deux

three — trois

four — quatre

five — cinq

six — six

seven — sept

eight — huit

nine — neuf

ten — dix

eleven — onze

twelve — douze

thirteen — treize

fourteen — quatorze

fifteen — quinze

sixteen — seize

seventeen — dix-sept

eighteen — dix-huit

nineteen — dix-neuf

twenty — vingt

The Rest Of The Tens

thirty — trente

forty — quarante

fifty — cinquante

sixty — soixante

seventy — soixante-dix

eighty — quatre-vingt

ninety — quatre-vingt-dix

one hundred — cent

French Numbers: Putting It All Together

French numbers can be a little tricky for English speakers. Up until 69, it progresses pretty normally. The number 57 is cinquante-sept, which is similar to the English fifty-seven. There is one exception before 69 which is that when there’s a “one,” or an un, you attach it as et un. Thus twenty-two is vingt-deux and twenty-seven is vingt-sept, but twenty-one is vingt et un.

Once you get into the 70s, it’s a little trickier. Seventy is soixante-dix, which literally translates as “sixty-ten.” Then it continues to soixante-onze “sixty-eleven” all the way up to 80. Then it transforms once again, because 80 is quatre-vingt, or “four-twenties.” Then it continues with quatre-vingt-un (81), quatre-vingt-deux (82) and on and on. Then 90 rounds it out as quatre-vingt-dix, or “four-twenty-ten.” Like the 70s, this goes through the teens like quatre-vingt-onze (“four-twenty-eleven”) until finally you reach 100, cent.

This can sound like a lot of rules, but there’s method to the madness. It’ll take some getting used to, but soon French numbers will be as easy as un, deux, trois.

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Author Headshot
Thomas Moore Devlin
Thomas grew up in suburban Massachusetts, and moved to New York City for college. He studied English literature and linguistics at New York University, but spent most of his time in college working for the student paper. Because of this, he has really hard opinions about AP Style. In his spare time, he enjoys reading and getting angry about things on Twitter. He's spent a lot of time trying to learn Spanish, and has learned a little German.
Thomas grew up in suburban Massachusetts, and moved to New York City for college. He studied English literature and linguistics at New York University, but spent most of his time in college working for the student paper. Because of this, he has really hard opinions about AP Style. In his spare time, he enjoys reading and getting angry about things on Twitter. He's spent a lot of time trying to learn Spanish, and has learned a little German.

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