Les Nombres: How To Count To 99 In French

Blog
02 August 2022
By Sarah Angela Almaden
Numbers

Unsplash: Lucas van Oort


From the moment you wake up and before you put on your makeup, you look at the time. It is just 6:55 AM. Which means, you have 5 extra minutes before 7 AM. Should you go back to sleep or should you read your favorite newsletter already? The choice is up to you.

5 minutes may not seem a lot. But you can do so much within 5 minutes. You can count to 501 in 5 minutes to let the time pass. You can fry two eggs in 5 minutes. You can listen to a song and a half in 5 minutes. Again, you can do a lot in 5 minutes.

When telling the time, you are using numbers. You are using numbers when talking about the seconds, the minutes, and the hours. Tick tock. Tick tock. These numbers become an important part of our lives. They seem so trivial, but they are quite essential for many things, especially for telling the time.

The special part of telling the time is that you are learning how to count. You are learning how to count the minutes you have left before you are late for work. You are learning how to count the morning meetings you have scheduled before your lunch break. You are learning how to count the number of post-its scattered on your desk. Hmm, 1, 2… 13 pink post-its all to the corner right, is that correct?

Believe it or not, learning how to count is actually a cool thing. You don’t really have to love math or numbers when counting. But if you do love math and numbers, that’s even better because learning how to count is a great way to understand the concept of numbers and how they are related to each other.

What’s more interesting is that numbers can have different translations in different languages. For example, in most French-speaking countries, French numbers can be a little tricky. Maybe because with some numbers, you will be using math… Just a little addition here and there, and a sprinkle of multiplication. No big deal. It's okay if you're scrunching your nose and scratching your head in confusion over what you just read. But what you read is simply a French fact.

Before you get even more confused with the rules of French numbers, here’s a little guide to help you along the way. Allons y!

Les Nombres: How to count from 1 to 10

Counting from 1 to 10 in French is simple and easy. The only thing you have to do is memorize the independent numbers.

If you want to practice your basic counting skills, try counting your pencils in your pencil case or try counting the oranges on your kitchen counter.

  • 0 – Zero – Zéro (zeyro)
  • 1 – One – Un (uhn)
  • 2 – Two – Deux (duh)
  • 3 – Three – Trois (trwah)
  • 4 – Four – Quatre (katr)
  • 5 – Five – Cinq (senk)
  • 6 – Six – Six (sees)
  • 7 – Seven – Sept (set)
  • 8 – Eight – Huit (weet)
  • 9 – Nine – Neuf (nuf)
  • 10 – Ten – Dix (dees)
Les Nombres: How to count from 11 to 19

On to the next set. When counting from 11 to 16, just remember these numbers are independent again.

When counting from 17 to 19, you begin the number with the prefix “dix” which means 10. For example: 18 is dix-huit. And a hyphen (-) is always added when writing these numbers.

  • 11 – Eleven – Onze (onz)
  • 12 – Twelve – Douze (duhz)
  • 13 – Thirteen – Treize (trez)
  • 14 – Fourteen – Quatorze (katorz)
  • 15 – Fifteen – Quinze (kanz)
  • 16 – Sixteen – Seize (sez)
  • 17 – Seventeen – Dix-sept (dees set)
  • 18 – Eighteen – Dix-huit (dees weet)
  • 19 – Nineteen – Dix-neuf (dees nuf)
Les Nombres: How to count from 20 to 29

So far, so good? Quick tips: 20 or Vingt is always an independent number. 21 is Vingt-et-un; the “et” and the hyphen (-) are important when writing vingt-et-un.

With 22 to 29, you simply add the additional number to Vingt. For example: 29 is vingt-neuf.

  • 20 – Twenty – Vingt (vahn)
  • 21 – Twenty-one – Vingt-et-un (vahn eh un)
  • 22 – Twenty-two – Vingt-deux (vahn duh)
  • 23 – Twenty-three – Vingt-trois (vahn trwah)
  • 24 – Twenty-four – Vingt-quatre (vahn katr)
  • 25 – Twenty-five – Vingt-cinq (vahn senk)
  • 26 – Twenty-six – Vingt-six (vahn sees)
  • 27 – Twenty-seven – Vingt-sept (vahn set)
  • 28 – Twenty-eight – Vingt-huit (vahn weet)
  • 29 – Twenty-nine – Vingt-neuf (vahn nuf)
Les Nombres: How to count from 30 to 39

Let’s keep going! Quick tips: 30 or Trente is always an independent number. 31 is trente-et-un; the “et” and the hyphen (-) are important when writing trente-et-un.

With 32 to 39, you simply add the additional number to Trente. For example: 35 is trente-cinq.

  • 30 – Thirty – Trente (trehnt)
  • 31 – Thirty-one – trente-et-un (trehnt eh un)
  • 32 – Thirty-two – trente-deux (trehnt duh)
  • 33 – Thirty-three – trente-trois (trehnt trwah)
  • 34 – Thirty-four – trente-quatre (trehnt katr)
Les Nombres: How to count from 40 to 49

As Kris Jenner would say “You’re doing amazing sweetie.” Quick tips: 40 or Quarante is always an independent number. 41 is quarante-et-un; the “et” and the hyphen (-) are important when writing quarante-et-un.

With 42 to 49, you simply add the additional number to Quarante. For example: 43 is quarante-trois.

  • 40 – Forty – quarante (karant)
  • 41 – Forty-one – quarante-et-un (karant eh un)
  • 42 – Forty-two – quarante-deux (karant duh)
  • 43 – Forty-three – quarante-trois (karant trwah)
  • 44 – Forty-four – quarante-quatre (karant katr)
Les Nombres: How to count from 50 to 59

Keep up the great work! Quick tips: 50 or Cinquante is always an independent number. 51 is cinquante-et-un; the “et” and the hyphen (-) are important when writing cinquante-et-un.

With 52 to 59, you simply add the additional number to Cinquante. For example: 56 is cinquante-six.

  • 50 – Fifty – cinquante (senkohnt)
  • 51 – Fifty-one – cinquante-et-un (senkohnt eh uhn)
  • 52 – Fifty-two – cinquante-deux (senkohnt duh)
  • 53 – Fifty-three – cinquante-trois (senkohnt trwah)
  • 54 – Fifty-four – cinquante-quatre (senkohnt katr)
Les Nombres: How to count from 60 to 69

Moving on. Quick tips: 60 or Soixante is always an independent number. 61 is soixante-et-un; the “et” and the hyphen (-) are important when writing soixante-et-un.

With 62 to 69, you simply add the additional number to Soixante. For example: 62 is soixante-deux.

  • 60 – Sixty – soixante (swasohnt)
  • 61 – Sixty-one – soixante-et-un (swasohnt eh uhn)
  • 62 – Sixty-two – soixante-deux (swasohnt duh)
  • 63 – Sixty-three – soixante-trois (swasohnt trwah)
  • 64 – Sixty-four – soixante-quatre (swasohnt katr)
Les Nombres: How to count from 70 to 79

Counting the set of 70s is a different story, and it might require some math. But don’t worry, this counting task isn’t too hard. Instead of saying Septante (which you can in Switzerland and Belgium), you say soixante-dix (sixty-ten or 60+10) in most French-speaking countries.

When counting 71 to 79, you would add Soixante to the corresponding teen number. For example: 73 is soixante-treize (60+13).

  • 70 – Seventy – soixante-dix (swasohnt dees)
  • 71 – Seventy-one – soixante-et-onze (swasohnt onz)
  • 72 – Seventy-two – soixante-douze (swasohnt duhz)
  • 73 – Seventy-three – soixante-treize (swasohnt trez)
  • 74 – Seventy-four – soixante-quatorze (swasohnt katorz)
  • 75 – Seventy-five – soixante-quinze (swasohnt kanz)
  • 76 – Seventy-six – soixante-seize (swasohnt sez)
  • 77 – Seventy-seven – soixante-dix-sept (swasohnt dees set)
  • 78 – Seventy-eight – soixante-dix-huit (swasohnt dees weet)
  • 79 – Seventy-nine – soixante-dix-neuf (swasohnt dees nuf)
Les Nombres: How to count from 80 to 89

Counting the 80s set in French also requires some math. Just a little multiplication and addition, which isn’t really too bad. Instead of saying Huitantante (which you can by the way in Switzerland and Belgium), you say quatre-vingts (four x twenty or 4 x 20) in most French-speaking countries.

When counting from 81 to 89, you would say Quatre-vingt then add any number from 1 to 9. For example, 89 is quatre-vingt-neuf (four x twenty + nine or 4 x 20 + 9).

  • 80 – Eighty – quatre-vingts (katr vahns)
  • 81 – Eighty-one – quatre-vingt-un (katr vahn uhn)
  • 82 – Eighty-two – quatre-vingt-deux (katr vahn duh)
  • 83 – Eighty-three – quatre-vingt-trois (katr vahn trwah)
  • 84 – Eighty-four – quatre-vingt-quatre (katr vahn katr)
  • 85 – Eighty-five – quatre-vingt-cinq (katr vahn senk)
  • 86 – Eighty-six – quatre-vingt-six (katr vahn sees)
  • 87 – EIghty-seven – quatre-vingt-sept (katr vahn set)
  • 88 – Eighty-eight – quatre-vingt-huit (katr vahn weet)
  • 89 – Eighty-nine – quatre-vingt-neuf (katr vahn nuf)
Les Nombres: How to count from 90 to 99

You may have 99 problems, but counting from 90 to 99 in French won’t be one. Again, this set requires math. Just a little multiplication and addition, not too much at all. 90 or ninety in French is quatre-vingt-dix (four x twenty + ten or 4 x 20 + 10).

When counting from 91 to 99, you would say Quatre-vingt then add any teen number from 11 to 19. For example, 95 is quatre-vingt-quinze (four x twenty + fifteen or 4 x 20 + 15).

  • 90 – Ninety – quatre-vingt-dix (katr vahn dees)
  • 91 – Ninety-one – quatre-vingt-onze (katr vahn onz)
  • 92 – Ninety-two – quatre-vingt-douze (katr vahn duhz)
  • 93 – Ninety-three – quatre-vingt-treize (katr vahn trez)
  • 94 – Ninety-four – quatre-vingt-quatorze (katr vahn katorz)
  • 95 – Ninety-five – quatre-vingt-quinze (katr vahn kanz)
  • 96 – Ninety-six – quatre-vingt-seize (katr vahn sez)
  • 97 – Ninety-seven – quatre-vingt-dix-sept (katr vahn dees set)
  • 98 – Ninety-eight – quatre-vingt-dix-huit (katr vahn dees weet)
  • 99 – Ninety-nine – quatre-vingt-dix-neuf (katr vahn dees nuf)
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