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Telling Time in French - L'Heure

Learn how to say what time it is in French

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Telling time: Lesson | Listening practice | Quiz

Telling time in French is just a matter of knowing the French numbers and a few formulas and rules.
  • The French word for "time," as in "what time is it?" is l'heure, not le temps. The latter means time as in "I spent a lot of time there."
     
  • In English, we often leave out "o'clock" - it's perfectly fine to say "It's seven" or "I'm leaving at three-thirty." Not so in French - you always have to say heure (except with midi and minuit).
     
  • In French, the hour and minute are separated by h (for heure) where in English we use a colon :
     
  • French doesn't have words for "a.m." and "p.m." You can use du matin for a.m., de l'après-midi from noon until about 6 p.m., and du soir from 6 p.m. until midnight, but time is usually expressed on a 24-hour clock. Thus 3 p.m. is normally expressed as quinze heures or 15h00, but you can also say trois heures de l'après-midi.

What time is it?   Quelle heure est-il ?
 
It's one o'clock Il est une heure 1h00
It's two o'clock Il est deux heures 2h00
 
It's 3:30Il est trois heures et demie
Il est trois heures trente
3h30
It's 4:15Il est quatre heures et quart
Il est quatre heures quinze
4h15
It's 4:45Il est cinq heures moins le quart
Il est cinq heures moins quinze
Il est quatre heures quarante-cinq   
4h45
It's 5:10Il est cinq heures dix 5h10
It's 6:50Il est sept heures moins dix
Il est six heures cinquante
6h50
 
It's 7 a.m.Il est sept heures du matin 7h00
It's 3 p.m.Il est trois heures de l'après-midi
Il est quinze heures
15h00
It's 6 p.m.Il est six heures du soir
Il est dix-huit heures
18h00
 
It's noonIl est midi 12h00
It's midnightIl est minuit 0h00
 

Practice! Telling time in French
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