Learning Numbers in French

Updated: Jun 29, 2020

Teach yourself numbers vocabulary in French!

Learn the Vocabulary

Download out the following free PDF handout with the numbers in French

Download PDF • 102KB

TIP: As you learn the numbers vocabulary, add notes to this handout--write out how to pronounce the numbers, what the numbers mean literally, etc.

Start with numbers 1-10

  • Play the video posted below and practice saying the numbers out loud

  • Sing along with the video. Keep practicing with it until you can say the numbers without listening to the video.

  • Get familiar with how the numbers are written out. Use the PDF handout (posted above).

  • Quiz yourself on the numbers--it can be helpful to use flashcards

Add numbers 11-20

  • Use the video below

  • Go through the same steps listed above for numbers 1-10

  • Keep practicing until you're comfortable counting to 20 in French

TIP: Did you notice the pattern with numbers 17, 18, and 19? They literally mean ten-seven, ten-eight, and ten-nine!

Now go all the way to 100!

TIPS: When you count by 10's in French, things seem pretty normal...until you reach 70. Here are some things to know:

  • Have you ever heard a kid trying to be funny when they count--they might say sixty-seven, sixty-eight, sixty-nine, sixty-ten, sixty-eleven...? This is actually what French does!

  • The word for "seventy" in French is soixante-dix. This literally means sixty-ten. 71 is sixty-eleven, 72 is sixty-twelve, and so on.

  • This pattern changes again when you reach 80. The word for "eighty" in French is quatre-vingts. This literally means four-twenties. Think of your multiplication tables: 4x2 = 8, so four 20s = 80.

  • This pattern continues with the 80s: 81 is four-twenty-one, 82 is four-twenty-two, and so on.

  • When you get to 90, things get similar to the 70s again. 90 is four-twenty-ten, 91 is four-twenty-eleven, and so on.

  • My favorite number in French is 99, or quatre-vingt-dix-neuf. Literally, you're saying four-twenty-ten-nine!

Now that you understand how the numbers work, start working on memorizing the numbers through 100:

  • Use the video below

  • Read the tips listed below, too--numbers in French get kind of crazy once you hit 70

  • Go through the same steps listed above for numbers 1-10

  • Keep practicing until you're comfortable counting to 100 in French

TIP: I like using songs to help learn new vocabulary. The melody helps you remember new words.

Practice the Vocabulary

  • Like I mentioned above, try using flashcards. You can write the numeral on one side, and the word for the number in French spelled out on the other side. It may be helpful to also write out the pronunciation in a way that helps you remember it.

  • Try doing math problems, but answering in French (either out loud, or writing out the answer in French). Check out this website for free addition worksheets.

  • Check out the numbers bundle available in the site's shop. It includes a numbers worksheet and numbers quiz you can do on your own, along with answer keys. There are also activities for practicing with a partner, including a dominoes game, a "Naval Battle" game, and a drawing activity that also gets you speaking.

Teaching Numbers Vocabulary

If you are teaching French numbers vocabulary to others, the numbers bundle has a lot of great resources for you. They work for children, adolescents, and adults, including school, homeschool, college, and tutoring settings. The bundle includes:

  • Comprehensive instructions for each activity 

  • A reference handout with numbers vocabulary (with numbers 0-1,000,000,000)

  • "Naval Battle" game (practices numbers 1-10, info-gap style activity, gets students speaking and listening)

  • A dot-to-dot partner speaking activity (practices numbers 1-64, info-gap style activity, gets students speaking and listening)

  • A "Bingo" board template (practices the numbers of your choice, gets students listening) 

  • A numbers worksheet and key (practices numbers 0-100, gets students reading) 

  • A numbers quiz and key (practices numbers 0-100, gets students reading and listening) 

  • Dominoes game (practices numbers 0-100, gets students reading)

  • A "run-up" numbers game (practices the numbers of your choice, gets students listening) 

  • A list of ideas for additional practice activities 

  • A list of ideas for cultural topics to discuss while teaching numbers vocabulary

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