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Pronouncing numbers in French

The fi nal consonant of the numbers cinq, six, and dix is silent before a word that begins with a consonant: cinq [sIn] livres, six [see] femmes, dix [dee] petits chats. The sound x [s] becomes [z] before a vowel: six [seez] oranges. The final consonant of deux, cinq, six, dix, and vingt is pronounced at the beginning of a word that begins with a vowel: deux [duhz] étudiants, cinq [sInk] images, dix [deez] hommes, vingt [vInt] articles.

• Numbers from 17 (dix-sept) to 19 (dix-neuf) are formed by combining numbers.
• Seventy (soixante-dix) is literally “sixty-ten,” seventy-one (soixante et onze) is “sixty and eleven,” and so on. Eighty (quatrevingts), “four-twenties,” starts a new series that ends in ninety-nine (quatre-vingt-dix-neuf).

• Eighty (quatre-vingts) takes an -s, but numbers based on it do not: quatre-vingt-un.

• In Belgium and French Switzerland, 70 is septante (septante et un, septante-deux...); 90 is nonante (nonante et un, nonante-deux...). In Belgium, 80 is huitante (huitante et un, huitante-deux...); while French Switzerland uses quatre-vingts, etc.
• When a feminine noun follows the numbers un, vingt et un, trente et un, etc., an -e is added to un: une table, vingt et une étudiantes,(twenty one female students)
trente et une voitures.(thirty one cars)

Doing Arithmetic in French
+ plus or et              quatorze plus (et) quinze font (égalent) vingt-neuf
Plus or and             fourteen plus(and)fifteen make( is equal to) twenty nine

_ moins                     vingt moins douze font (égalent) huit
Minus                                    twenty minus twelve make(is equal to) eight

× fois                                              six fois dix font (égalent) soixante
Times(multiplication)      six times ten makes(is equal to) sixty

÷ divisé par                         trente-six divisé par douze font (égalent) trois
Divided by                          thirty six divided by twelve makes(is equal to) three

Numbers from 100
Here are the numbers starting with 100:
100 cent                                            700 sept cents
101 cent un                                       800 huit cents
102 cent deux                                  900 neuf cents
200 deux cents                                970 neuf cent soixante-dix
201 deux cent un                             980 neuf cent quatre-vingts
222 deux cent vingt-deux               999 neuf cent quatre-vingt-dix-neuf
300 trois cents                                  1 000 mille
400 quatre cents                              1 001 mille un
500 cinq cents                                  2 000 deux mille
600 six cents                                    3 750 trois mille sept cent cinquante
999 999 neuf cent quatre-vingt-dix-neuf mille neuf cent quatre-vingt-dix-neuf

1 000 000 un million
1 000 000 000 un milliard.

Knowing Your Numbers
Numbers are some of the most important vocabulary words you’ll need: to ask for and to say prices, schedules, directions, addresses, telephone numbers, etc. Practice them aloud regularly.
• The -s of cents (trois cents) is dropped when followed by any other
number: 201 (deux cent un), 735 (sept cent trente-cinq).
• Like cent, mille (one thousand) has no article. The word mille never ends in -s: 1 004 (mille quatre), 7 000 (sept mille), 9 999 (neuf mille neuf cent quatre-vingt-dix-neuf).
• European Union currency (now used by thirteen EU countries, including France) is l’euro (m.) (€); it is divided into 100 centimes (m.).

To express thousands in figures, French uses a space or a period where English uses a comma: 2 695/2.695. In decimal numbers, such as prices, French uses a comma where English uses a period: 77,50€/15,90€.
• The nouns million (million) and milliard (billion) take -s in the plural: 2 300 000€ (deux millions trois cent mille euros). The preposition de/d’ is used between million(s) or milliard(s) and a noun: un milliard d’euros, trois millions d’habitants.

Ordinal Numbers
Ordinal numbers express position in a series, such as fi rst, second, third, fourth, and fi fth. In French, ordinal numbers, with the exception of le premier/la première (the first), are formed by adding -ième to cardinal numbers. Except for le premier/la première, only the article (le/la/les) changes to agree with the noun.

le premier/la première         le/la onzième            le/la vingt et unième
le/la deuxième                      le/la douzième          le/la vingt-deuxième
le/la troisième                       le/la treizième           le/la trentième
le/la quatrième                      le/la quatorzième      le/la quatre-vingtième
le/la cinquième                     le/la quinzième         le/la quatre-vingt-dixième
le/la sixième                          le/la seizième            le/la centième
le/la septième                       le/la dix-septième
le/la huitième                        le/la dix-huitième
le/la neuvième                      le/la dix-neuvième
le/la dixième                          le/la vingtième

take a close look at the following examples
le premier homme                          the first man
la première classe                                     the first class
le quatrième étage                                     the fourth floor
le sixième mois                               the sixth month
la trente-neuvième marche         the thirty-ninth step

Où est le dix-huitième               Where’s the eighteenth
arrondissement?                                 arrondissement (Paris district)?

C’est ton cinquième repas du jour?        Is that your fifth meal of the day?
Le dixième chapitre est intéressant.        The tenth chapter is interesting.
Le cabinet du médecin est au sixième étage. The doctor’s office is on the sixth

• Note the irregular spelling of cinquième and neuvième, and the forms vingt et unième, trente et unième, etc.

Le and la do not elide before huitième and onzième: le huitième étudiant (the eighth student), la onzième cliente (the eleventh customer).
• The abbreviation e, sometimes printed in superscript, indicates that a number should be read as an ordinal, as does the suffi x -ième: 5 _ cinq; 5e and 5ième _ le/la cinquième.
• In many countries, including France, le premier étage refers to the second level of a building (called the second floor in the United States). The ground floor in French is le rez-de-chaussée. Take this difference into account when renting a hotel room.

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