French numbers: how to count from 1 to 100 in French

Un, deux, trois, quatorze?! How far can you count in French? Learn how to say all the French numbers from 1 to 100.

Trois baguettes, s’il vous plait. You have mastered the numbers from one to ten in French and are feeling confident as the boulanger hands you the three baguettes that you politely requested. You meet up with some new friends for a picnic in the park and, as you are putting a slice of comté on your fresh baguette, someone asks your age. As you awkwardly attempt to communicate using your fingers, you suddenly realize the importance of numbers and wish you had paid more attention in French class, and possibly even in math class.

You have tackled basic French words and now you are ready to begin learning numbers in French. If you are already familiar with “un, deux, trois”, or “one, two, three”, counting in French might seem relatively simple. How hard can it be if “zero” is still zéro in French and the only difference is a small accent? Don’t be fooled. French follows typical counting rules until you reach 70, where things get complicated and stay complicated until you make it to 100. There’s no need to worry: with time and practice counting will soon become second nature. Read on for the rules, tips and a cheat sheet for counting in French.

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Numbers 1-10 in French

Let’s start with the numbers 1-10, which are relatively simple and used as building blocks for later on down the counting road.

1: un 

2: deux 

3: trois

4: quatre

5: cinq

6: six

7: sept

8: huit

9: neuf 

10: dix

Quick tip: un or une?

If you have ever listened to people chatting in French, you might have noticed that there are two words for “a/an”, as well as for “one”: un and une. These two different forms correspond to the two different genders for French nouns. Un is masculine and une is feminine. The rule is quite simple: if the object is masculine, you use un and if it’s feminine, you use une. For example, one dog is un chien and one table is une table. When entering a restaurant, it is common to say une table, s’il vous plait to ask for a table.

Numbers 11-20 in French

Now onto the numbers 11-20, which are slightly irregular but can easily be memorized with a little effort.

11: onze

12: douze

13: treize

14: quatorze

15: quinze

16: seize

17: dix-sept

18: dix-huit

19: dix-neuf

20: vingt

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Numbers 1-100 in French

French numbers are relatively regular from 20 to 69, as you can see in the chart below. It’s important to take note that in French number spelling, as of 1990, any number made up of two or more words requires dashes or hyphens. Also, only add et to the number one. For all the rest of the numbers until ten, you simply add the number and a hyphen. 

Once you hit seventy, French numbers take a wild turn. In French, the number seventy is soixante-dix, or “sixty ten” in English. As you count to eighty, you continue to add using the teens:  soixante-douze or “sixty twelve”, soixante-treize or “sixty thirteen”, etc. 

Unfortunately, the irregular trend continues and eighty is literally translated as “four twenty”. Unlike seventy, as you count to ninety, you add numbers one to ten. So eighty-two, quatre-vingt-deux, is translated as “four twenty-two”. Following this trend means that ninety, quatre-vingt-dix, is translated as “four twenty ten”. From 90 to 100, ninety-one, for example, is quatre-vingt-onze, or “four twenty eleven”. 

un11 onze21 vingt- et-un31 trente-et-un41 quarante-et-un51 cinquante-et-un61 soixante-et-un71 soixante-et-onze81 quatre-vingt-un91 quatre-vingt- onze
2 deux12 douze22 vingt- deux32 trente-deux42 quarante-deux52 cinquante-deux62 soixante-deux72 soixante-douze82 quatre-vingt- deux92 quatre-vingt- douze
trois13  treize23 vingt- trois33 trente- trois43 quarante-trois53 cinquante-trois63 soixante-trois73 soixante-treize83 quatre-vingt- trois93 quatre-vingt- treize
4 quatre14 quatorze24 vingt- quatre34 trente-quatre44 quarante-quatre54 cinquante-quatre64 soixante-quatre74 soixante-quatorze84 quatre-vingt-quatre94 quatre-vingt- quatorze
cinq15 quinze25 vingt- cinq35 trente-cinq45 quarante-cinq55 cinquante-cinq65 soixante-cinq75 soixante-quinze85 quatre-vingt- cinq95 quatre-vingt- quinze
6     six16seize26 vingt- six36 trente-six46 quarante-six56 cinquante-six66 soixante-six76 soixante-seize86 quatre-vingt-six96 quatre-vingt- seize
sept17dix-sept27 vingt- sept37 trente-sept47 quarante-sept57 cinquante-sept67 soixante-sept77 soixante-dix-sept87 quatre-vingt- sept97 quatre-vingt- dix- sept
8   huit18dix-huit28 vingt- huit38 trente-huit48 quarante-huit58 cinquante-huit68 soixante-huit78 soixante-dix-huit88 quatre-vingt- huit98 quatre-vingt- dix-huit
neuf19dix-neuf29 vingt- neuf39 trente-neuf49 quarante-neuf59 cinquante-neuf69 soixante-neuf79 soixante-dix-neuf89 quatre-vingt- neuf99 quatre-vingt- dix-neuf
10  dix20 vingt30 trente40 quarante50 cinquante60 soixante70 soixante-dix80 quatre-vingt90 quatre- vingt-dix100 cent

In other French-speaking countries such as Switzerland and Belgium, an easier system is used.

70: septante

80: huitante

90: nonante

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3 tips to help you count in French

Over time, counting will become easier and more fluid with practice. Until then, here are three tips to help you learn faster.

Tip #1: Start by learning numbers 1-15, as they are the building blocks on which the other numbers are based. Since these numbers are irregular, the best thing to do is to make flashcards and memorize them.

Tip #2: Learn the multiples of ten: vingt, trente, quarante, cinquante and soixante. These are all regular numbers that only require memorization. 

Tip #3: Learn 70-100 by heart. Once they are committed to memory, they will begin to feel more natural. With time and a little memorization, you will soon master counting in French!

Ordinal numbers in French

Ordinal numbers are used all the time in French and come in handy particularly when talking about which Parisian arrondissement (district) you live in.

First: premier/première

Second: deuxième

Third: troisième

Fourth: quatrième

Fifth: cinquième

Sixth: sixième

Seventh: septième

Eighth: huitième

Ninth: neuvième

Tenth: dixième

Eleventh: onzième

Twelfth: douzième

Thirteenth: treizième

Fourteenth: quatorzième

Fifteenth: quinzième

Sixteenth: seizième

Seventeenth: dix-septième

Eighteenth: dix-huitième

Nineteenth: dix-neuvième

Twentieth: vingtième

French numbers to 1000

Thankfully, counting to 1000 is much easier than counting to 100. Simply add the rest of the number to cent or the other hundreds. For example, 126 is cent-vingt-six and 182 is cent-quatre-vingt-deux. Simple, right? To get to 1000, we just follow the same system with the roots of other hundreds.

200: deux-cents

300: trois-cents

400: quatre-cents

500: cinq-cents

600: six-cents

700: sept-cents

800: huit-cents

900: neuf-cents

1000: mille

French numbers to 1 billion or 1 trillion

Even if you aren’t counting to 1 trillion every day, if you ever want to, all you need to know are three new words: 

Un million: 1,000,000 (a million)

Un milliard: 1,000,000,000 (a billion)

Un billion: 1,000,000,000,000 (a trillion)

Be careful with milliard and billion. These are false friends and can easily trick you – Beware! Don’t forget that in French, a milliard means billion (not million) and a billion means trillion (not billion).

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Want to learn all the different ways to say goodbye in French? Check out our upcoming article on how to say goodbye in French!

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