Talking about Time in French


Last Updated: August 30, 2022

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Let’s talk about TIME. There is a huge list of words and topics about time but today, we’ll be narrowing it down and only talk about French words and phrases related to time.

Time in French

If you are looking for a lesson on how to tell time in French, it’s another topic for another day. But you can head over to that separate article here.

This particular article is quite short and concise and is divided into four parts. You can click the Quick Navigation guide below to jump to specific lists.

Let’s begin learning about French time phrases and words, shall we?

I. French Words and Phrases about Frequency

These words answer the question, “how often?”

une foisonce
une fois par semaineonce a week
Deux fois par semainetwice a week
tous les joursevery day
tous les deux joursevery other day
toutes les semainesevery week

II. French Words and Phrases about Relative Time

These words answer the questions, “When did it happen?” or “When will it happen?”

avant-hierthe day before yesterday
après-demainthe day after tomorrow
la veille dethe day before yesterday
le lendemainthe day after, the next day
la semaine passée/dernièrelast week
la dernière semainethe final week
la semaine prochainenext week
il y a peu de tempsa little while ago

III. French Words and Phrases about Points in time / Periods of time

Now for the particular moment/ period of time.

une secondesecond
une minuteminute
une heurehour
un jour, une journéeday
une semaineweek
un moismonth
un an, une annéeyear
une décenniedecade
un sièclecentury
un millénairemillenium
le matinmorning
le soirevening
le crépusculedusk
la nuitnight

IV. Prepositions about Time

Now for the prepositions related to time. Keep these in mind as these little words can be quite confusing to some!

àused when expressing the time when a certain action will occur. à 8 heures. At 8 o’clock.
enused when expressing the length of time, season, month, or year.En été. In summer.
dansused when telling the amount of time before an action will happen. Nous mangerons dans 10 minutes. We’ll eat in 10 minutes.
depuisused when saying the duration of an ongoing activity.Nous parlons depuis une heure. We’ve been talking for an hour.
pendant/durantrefers to the entire duration of an action. Il a dormi pendant/durant 12 heures. He slept for 12 hours.
pourrefers to the duration of a future event.Il va parler pour une heure. He’s going to speak for an hour

Did you like this lesson about French time words and phrases? You can find more short lessons like this in the e-book Beginner’s French Grammar in 30 Days. It’s filled with short, concise lessons perfect for even the busiest learners.

About the author 

Frederic Bibard is the founder of Talk in French, a company that helps french learners to practice and improve their french. Macaron addict. Jacques Audiard fan. You can contact him on Instagram

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