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Do you want to talk about the days of the week in French? Let’s learn the days in French and how they’re normally used when discussing singular events, repeating events, and dates.

If you want to communicate in French, then you’ll need to learn the days of the week in French. Then you can make plans with your French hosts to go to the soccer match on samedi, or let your new French friends you’re available to go to the café on vendredi.

In this post, we’ll study how to properly use the days of the week in French. We’ll learn the names for each of the French days of the week, some quirky grammar differences that can be tricky for English speakers when using French days, and how to write a date using the days in French. Let’s get started!

The Days of the Week in French

Without further ado, let’s just jump straight in and cover the names for the seven days of the week in French:

The days of the week Les jours de la semaine
Monday [Le] lundi
Tuesday [Le] mardi
Wednesday [Le] mercredi
Thursday [Le] jeudi
Friday [Le] vendredi
Saturday [Le] samedi
Sunday [Le] dimanche
  • Je vais à un match de foot samedi. – I am going to a soccer match Saturday.
  • Elle a une leçon de guitare mardi. – She has a guitar lesson Monday.

Did you notice the gender of the French weekdays? We can use either le or un before each one, since all French days of the week are masculine!

Vocabulary for the week and the weekend

In addition to knowing how to name each of the seven days of the week in French, there are several other essential vocabulary words for talking about different parts of the French week.

le jour the day
la semaine the week
le week-end (France) the weekend
la fin de semaine (Québec) the weekend
un jour de semaine a weekday
un jour de travail a workday
un jour férié a holiday
  • Il y a sept jours dans la semaine. – There are seven days in the week.
  • Dimanche est un jour de week-end et lundi est un jour de semaine. –  Sunday is a day of the weekend and Monday is a weekday.
  • Cette semaine, jeudi est un jour férié, mais vendredi est un jour de travail. – This week, Thursday is a holiday, but Friday is a workday.

Are French days of the week capitalized?

As we’ve seen in our vocab list and in the example sentences, the French days of the week are never capitalized unless they appear at the beginning of a sentence.

  • Nous allons au parc dimanche. – We are going to the park Sunday.
  • Voulez-vous aller au resto mardi ou mercredi ? – Do you want to go to the restaurant Tuesday or Wednesday?

However, when the sentence starts with a French day of the week, we capitalize it just like any word that begins a sentence.

  • Jeudi, ils vont au cinéma. – Thursday, they are going to the cinema.
  • Lundi, j’ai un examen. – Monday, I have an exam.

This same rule on capitalization also applies to the French months. Check out our other post for a full explanation on the months of the year in French.

The French days of the week in plural

For the most part, we just refer to the French days of the week in Singular. There are particular instances, however, when we use the days in plural form. For every one of the seven days of the week in French, we simply add an s at the end to form the plural. Easy!

One instance where we’ll need to use the French days in plural is when we talk about multiples of a given day, either by citing specific numbers or through other descriptive quantities.

  • L’Assemblée nationale se réunit trois jeudis par mois. – The National Assembly meets three Thursdays a month.
  • Le zoo est fermé plusieurs dimanches en janvier. – The zoo is closed several Sundays in January.
  • Ça fait déjà quelques lundis de suite que tu arrives au bureau une heure en retard! – It’s already been a few Mondays in a row that you arrive at the office an hour late!

We’ll get into a few other instances where we use the plural days of the week in French when we discuss repeating events below.

Using definite and indefinite articles: Le and un

As a general rule, we don’t use articles when stating the days of the week in French.

However, as we’ll see in the next sections, there are specific circumstances for using the articles with the French days of the week. In short, the definite article denotes repetition, while the indefinite article adds vagueness.

Using “le” for repeating events

In French, we use the word le before the French days of the week when we want to talk about our habits or repeated events. It’s the French equivalent of adding the letter s to the day of the week in English.

There are a few options for translating the concept into English, like adding every before the day of the week, but the underlying concept of regular repetition remains the same.

  • Le dimanche, nous dînons chez ma grand-mère. – Sundays, we eat at my grandmother’s. – We eat at my grandmother’s every Sunday.
  • Elles jouent aux cartes le jeudi. – They play cards Thursdays. – They play cards on Thursdays. – They play cards every Thursday. – They play cards each Thursday.

Using “les” for repeating events

We just saw how we can use the single definite article le before a given day of the week in French to state regular repetition of an event on that day. This is a very common grammatical construction in French.

Nonetheless, it’s also common, and just as correct, to say the same thing by using the plural article les, and pluralizing the French day. You’ll hear both versions being used by native speakers, since we can essentially just choose whichever we want to use. Both are correct and mean the same thing.

  • Les dimanches, nous dînons chez ma grande-mère. – On Sundays we eat at my grandmother’s.
  • Les vendredis, nous faisons toujours un cinq-à-sept après le boulot. – On Fridays, we always do a happy hour after work. – We do a happy hour after work every Friday.

“Chaque” and “tous les” for repeating events

We just saw how we can say that something repeats regularly on a given day of the week simply by using le before the French day of the week. Well just like you do in English, we can also be more explicit with how we state the repetition.

Chaque translates directly as each or every, so we use it along with a singular form of the French day of the week to state regular repetition.

Likewise, tous les translates literally as all of the, so with this one we use it with the French days of the week in plural to state repetition.

In both cases, your best bet for translating the statements into English remains every [day of the week], or simply to say the day in plural.

  • Le vendredi, ils jouent au volley. – Chaque vendredi, ils jouent au volley. – Tous les vendredis, ils jouent au volley. – [On] Fridays, they play volleyball. – Every Friday, they play volleyball.

Using “un” for some non-specific day

We use the indefinite article un before a French day of the week to refer to some day that’s not specific. The equivalent in English is when you refer to a Monday or any Thursday, for example.

  • Un dimanche, je vais t’inviter à déjeuner. – On some Sunday, I’ll invite you to lunch.
  • Nous irons au zoo un samedi en mai. – We will go to the zoo on a Saturday in May.
  • Ils nous ont conseillé d’acheter nos billets d’avion un lundi pour avoir le meilleur prix. – They recommended that we buy our plane tickets on any Monday to have the best price.

As you can see, in each of these examples the day of the week is specified for each action, but it remains vague which week the event might take place.

Abbreviations for the French days of the week

Just like in English, we have standard abbreviations for the French days too. They’re quite easy to remember, since we just use the first three letters of each French day.

French day, abbreviation Day of the week, French Day of the week, English
lun. lundi Monday
mar. mardi Tuesday
mer. mercredi Wednesday
jeu. jeudi Thursday
ven. vendredi Friday
sam. samedi Saturday
dim. dimanche Sunday

A week on the French calendar

An interesting difference between French and English speaking cultures is which day is considered to be the first day of the week.

In France, the first day of the week on le calendrier is lundi. This is distinct from the norm in  the United States where a calendar week normally begins with Sunday. It’s a subtle difference, but an important one to be aware of to avoid confusion!

Here’s a typical French calendar layout, in this case for the month of septembre 2022:

lun mar mer jeu ven sam dim
1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30

Remember to check out our detailed post for a full explanation of the months of the year in French.

Writing the date in French

Now that we’ve learned to talk about the days of the week in French, and even taken a look at the French calendar, why don’t we cover how to write dates in French? This is an important lesson, since the word order is somewhat different from the standards in English.

In French, we always place the day before the month. We never use ordinal numbers for dates. If we choose to include it, the day of the week still comes before. We also usually include the definite article le before the whole ensemble, though sometimes people omit it.

  • 11/01/22 – le mardi 11 janvier 2022 – Tuesday, [the] 11th of January, 2022 – Tuesday, January [the] 11th, 2022
  • 16/04 – le dimanche 16 avril – dimanche 16 avril – Sunday, April 16th
  • 14/07 – le 14 juillet – the 14th of July – July 14th
  • 25/08 – le jeudi 25 août – Thursday, August 25th

If the month is already known or irrelevant, it’s ok to omit it, just like in English.

  • le jeudi 25 – Thursday the 25th
  • Son vol part le 21. – Her flight leaves on the 21st.
  • Je paie mon loyer le 5 du mois. – I pay my rent on the 5th of the month.

Conclusion

Knowing the days of the week in French will help you understand and communicate when activities and events are happening, and allow you to talk about when you’d like to spend time with friends or family. Hopefully this post provided you with some solid pointers for talking about the days of the week in French.

We started off with a list of the seven days of the week in French and English, which is obviously the fundamental substance of this post. Going more in depth, we covered a lot more details on how we actually use each of the French days in various contexts.

We saw that the French days of the week are always written in lowercase, for example, along with learning to pluralize the days by adding an s, and to abbreviate them by simply using the first three letters. We even saw how the first day of the week on the French calendar is lundi! We ended with a lesson showing how to state the date in French, with the most important detail being that the day comes before the month.

The big usage lessons we covered mostly came down to our choice of articles. In general, we don’t use any article at all before mentioning a given day of the week in French. Using the definite article “le” indicates regular repetition, as does the use of the plural form of the day along with its definite article les. Conversely, using the indefinite article “un” indicates that we’re not talking about any specific day.

And that about covers it! With this, you have all the knowledge you need to talk all about the days of the week in French. You’re ready to use the right sentence structures to indicate specific details on when things happen on the various French days of the week!

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