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A Guide to Learning the Months in French

What are the 12 months in French?

  • January – janvier
  • February – février
  • March – mars
  • April – avril
  • May – mai
  • June – juin
  • July – juillet
  • August – août
  • September – septembre
  • October – octobre
  • November – novembre
  • December – décembre

You may see the resemblance between each month of the year in French and in English. That’s because they all come from Latin and therefore they often share the same root. You will notice that each month starts in the same, or at least very similar, way to the English equivalent.

Months of the year in French pronunciation

When it comes to months in French pronunciation, we must forget about how we want to say things in our own language, and really try to make them sound more French.

Pay close attention to the letters in red and the key below.

  • janvier – jon-vee-ey (soft J)
  • février – feh-vree-ey
  • mars – mahrss (guttural R)
  • avril – ahv-reel
  • mai – mei
  • juinju-wan (soft J)
  • juilletjwee-yey
  • août – oot
  • septembre – sep-tom-br
  • octobre – oct-o-br
  • novembre – noh-vom-br
  • décembre – dess-om-br

Important things to remember:

  • Soft J: The French J is a soft sound, just like the J in “Taj Mahal” or the S in the word “treasure”.
  • Guttural R: The French R is guttural. It should be said in your throat.
  • ER and ET make an ey sound
  • The words ending in BRE do not rhyme with the word “ombre”. They in fact end with the French guttural R sound.
  • You may want to pronounce the French “mai” like the English “May”, but the French word is a shorter sound that doesn’t need the long “y” sound at the end.

When writing, it’s important to note that French months are common nouns, so they do not need capital letters.

Moreover, don’t forget the accents on février, août and décembre.

Months in French song

A great way to learn the months by heart is by singing along to a song. They might not be the latest chart-toppers, but a catchy tune will help you remember the words and will improve your pronunciation too. There are many songs available online, such as the “les mois de l’année chanson”. If you’re looking for somewhere to push your French to the next level, Clozemaster has a huge variety of exercises and games to boost your French!

How to say the four seasons in French

If you’re going to learn the months, then you might also want to know how to say seasons in French. The seasons are as follows:

  • Hiver – winter
  • Printemps – spring
  • Été – summer
  • Automne – autumn/fall

Saying the date in French

To say or write the date in French, you might already know the days of the week in French or you might want to omit the day entirely, and just use the numerical form. Here is how to say the date using the French months: le + number + month.

The date is said and written in the same order as in British English: dd/mm/yy.

  • le 22 janvier (22nd January)
  • le 10 septembre (10th September)

“The”

Another similarity to British English is the need for the article “the”. In British English it is always said but never written (the 20th November), while in American English it is omitted altogether (November 20). In French, the article “le” is always both said and written (le 20 novembre)

While we use th, nd and st to abbreviate ordinal numbers in English, the French do not do this with dates. We do not need to say February fourteenth, simply le quatorze février. However, the French language wouldn’t be what it is without exceptions. Every French rule has them, and in this case, it’s the first of the month…

Le premier

The “premier” meaning “first” should be used to say the first day of every month. It is abbreviated with “1er”.

Examples:

  • Le 1er janvier est le jour de l’an. – January 1 is New Year’s Day.
  • Aujourd’hui nous sommes le 1er août. – Today is August 1 (literally: today we are August 1)

This does not apply to other numbers ending in 1: we must say le vingt-et-un (the twenty-one) rather than “the twenty-first”.

Examples:

  • Mon anniversaire est le 21 (vingt-et-un) avril.
    My birthday is on April 21.
  • Halloween est le 31 octobre, et le 1er novembre est le toussaint.
    Halloween is on October 31, and All Saint’s Day is on November 1.

How to use the months in a sentence

Now we’re going to look at how to use the months in different contexts. When learning the months in French, you should be aware of the prepositions that we use with them, or lack thereof. In the examples above, you may have noticed that for French dates we do not need to add a preposition. Let’s take a closer look…

  • Mon anniversaire est le 21 avril. – My birthday is on April 21.
  • Halloween est le 31 octobre. – Halloween is on October 31.

You can see that the preposition “on” is not used in French. We also do not need to say the date “of” a month, such as the fourth of July, we simply say “le 4 juillet” (literally: the four July). That said, the months do require a preposition to say in which month something takes place, when we aren’t using a specific date.

  • Je suis allé à Paris en mars.
    I went to Paris in March.
  • Le concert est en décembre.
    The concert is in December.

“This month”

When speaking French, we don’t just say “this month” but rather ce mois-ci. This translates to “this month here” or “this month now”.

Example:

  • Ce mois-ci nous allons fixer de nouveaux objectifs.
    This month we’re going to set new goals.

“Next month” and “last month”

This is relatively easy to remember, as we add the word prochain (next) and dernier (last) to any day, week or month. Just remember to inverse the words so the month or other time word comes first. To talk about any month without using the name of the month, use the article “le”. This is also the case when saying next month and last month: le mois prochain (the next), but when using the name of a particular month, it’s necessary to use the preposition “en”.

Examples:

  • Je pars en vacances le mois prochain.
    I’m going on vacation next month. (literally: I’m going on vacation the month next)
  • Je suis allé au Mexique le mois dernier.
    I went to Mexico last month.(literally: I went to Mexico the month last)
  • Il travaillais à l’hôpital en février dernier.
    I worked in the hospital last February. (literally: I worked in the hospital in February last )
  • Nous allons nous marier en juillet prochain.
    We’re getting married next July. (literally: We will get married in July next)

“Every month”

When something is repeated regularly, we can use the word “chaque” which means each/every. We can also say “tous” (meaning “all”). While we wouldn’t say “all the months” in English, it is common to hear in French, so don’t be afraid to use both terms interchangeably.

Examples:

  • Vous avez un match de foot tous les mois.
    You have a football match every month. (Literally: you have a football match all the months)
  • Chaque mois nous allons au restaurant.
    We go to a restaurant every month.
  • Je rendre visite à ma grand-mère tous les mois.
    I visit my grandma every month. (Literally: I visit my grandma all the months)
  • Je fais une course à pied chaque juillet.
    I run a race every July. (Literally: I do a race on foot every July)

“Before” and “after”

This is a simple sentence construction because it is very similar to the English structure: before + month or after + month. The key words here are “avant” (before) and “apres” (after).

Examples:

  • Après juin je vais arrêter de regarder autant de télévision.
    After June I’m going to stop watching so much TV.
  • On doit acheter des cadeau avant décembre pour éviter les prix élevés de Noël.
    We must buy presents before December to avoid high Christmas prices.

“Since”

This is a simple sentence structure as, just like in English, we only need to add the name of the month after the word “depuis” (since).

Examples:

  • Je fais de la natation depuis juin.
    I’ve been swimming since June.
  • Ils se sont mariés depuis mai.
    They’ve been married since Ma.

“Until”

Using the word until in French is a bit more tricky. We have to add in the preposition “en”. Usually, we would say “jusqu’à”, meaning “until”, but for the months and years we actually use jusqu’à + en (until + in). The French language hates starting a word with a vowel if the previous word ends in a vowel, so we must use liason to join the two words. This becomes jusqu’en.

Example:

  • Je vais rester dans cet appartement jusqu’en mars.
    I’m staying in this apartment until March.

Similarly, we can say Jusqu’au mois de… meaning “until the month of…”

  • J’ai déjà payé mon loyer jusqu’au mois d’avril.
    I’ve already paid my rent until April. (Literally: I’ve already paid my rent until the month of April)

Key dates for each month

Every month we celebrate a tradition, a holiday or an event, so it’s always useful to know what is being celebrated when you visit a foreign country. Here are the key events in France throughout the year. Saying each month in French in a sentence is great practice. In addition, you could also practice saying your birthday and the birthdays of your friends and family.

  • Le 1er janvier est le jour de l’an. – January 1 is New Year’s Day.
  • Le 14 février est le Saint Valentin. – February 14 is Valentine’s day.
  • Pâques est en mars ou en avril. – Easter is in March or April.
  • Le 1er mai est la Fête du Travail en France. May 1 is labor day in France.
  • La fête des mères se fête en fin mai. – Mother’s day is celebrated at the end of May.
  • La fête des pères se fête en juin. – Father’s Day is celebrated in June.
  • Le 14 juillet est la Fête nationale. – July 14 is the national holiday (Bastille Day).
  • 15 août est l’Assomption, un jour ferie. – August 15 is Assumption Day, a public holiday.
  • La rentrée scolaire est en début septembre. – School resumes in early September.
  • Le 31 octobre c’est halloween. – October 31 is Halloween
  • Le 1er novembre c’est la toussaint. – November 1 is All Saints’ Day
  • Les fêtes de fin d’année ont lieu en décembre. – The end of year festivities take place in December.

Challenge yourself with Clozemaster

Test your skills and see what you’ve learned from this article by playing a selection of sentences with French months.

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