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Do you want to learn how to say and use the months of the year in French? In this post we’ll cover everything you need to know about the months in French, as well as the seasons in French.

Knowing the French months of the year is essential to being able to discuss past activities and making future plans, as well as our habits or routines over the course of the seasons. In addition to learning this fundamental vocabulary, we’ll also look at grammar rules for talking about the French months and the seasons in French throughout the year.

If you haven’t seen our post introducing the days of the week in French, we recommend you read that blog entry as well. In addition to covering the vocabulary and grammar rules for the days in French, it also covers some quirks of the French calendar as well as how to write dates in French. Between these two posts, you’ll be ready to talk about all the activities you do during the week, months, and seasons in French.

Now let’s get started with our lesson on the months in French!

The twelve months of the year in French

Let’s dive straight in with the fundamental vocabulary for the twelve months in French.

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

 

While we’re at it, let’s introduce a few other key vocab words for talking about the months of the year in French.

French, singular French, plural English
le jour les jours day, days
la semaine les semaines week, weeks
le mois les mois month, months
l’année (f) les années year, years
la saison les saisons season, seasons

 

Now we’re ready to start using these in some sentences.

  • Janvier est le premier mois de l’année. – January is the first month of the year.
  • Le mois de février dure exactement quatre semaines. – The month of February lasts exactly four weeks.
  • Les mois d’hiver sont décembre, janvier, et février. – The months of winter are December, January, and February.
  • Quel est le troisième mois de l’année ? – What is the third month of the year?
  • L’année scolaire commence en septembre. – The school year starts in September.
  • Quelle est ta saison préférée ? – What is your favorite season?
  • Je préfère les saisons les plus chaudes. – I prefer the hottest seasons.

Année vs An

There’s another word that translates as year in French: an. When we talk about events in the course of a year, however, we always refer to l’année. Un an is rather used when we mention a year as a unit of measurement, as opposed to talking about timing within the year.

  • Les Vikings sont arrivés au Canada en l’an 1000. – The Vikings arrived in Canada in the year 1000.
  • Ma nièce a treize ans. – My niece is thirteen years old.
  • Je vis en France depuis trois ans et demi. – I’ve been living in France for three-and-a-half years.

Are the months in French capitalized?

As you may have noticed from the table and our example sentences, the French months are not capitalized. The only time we capitalize the months in French is when they’re at the beginning of a sentence.

  • Mon anniversaire est le 10 septembre. – My Birthday is the 10th of September.
  • La coupe du monde commence le 20 novembre. – The World Cup starts November 20th.
  • Février est le mois le plus court. – February is the shortest month.

What gender are the months in French?

All of the twelve months of the year in French are masculine. When we refer to the months using the definite or indefinite articles, we therefore use le and un.

  • Le février que j’ai passé en Sibérie était pénible! – The Feburary that I spent in Siberia was downright painful!
  • Quand les enfants seront plus grands, nous devrions passer un juillet sur la côte. – Once the kids are bigger, we should spend a July on the coast.

It’s rare that we actually refer to a month using the articles though, aside from specific situations like these examples. As we’ll see in the next section, instead we normally refer to times in a given month.

En ce mois: In this month

Just as in English with the word in, the months in French are mostly used with the preposition en. This is best explained with some examples:

  • En juillet, nous faisons du camping pendant nos vacances. – In July, we go camping during our vacation.
  • Faites-vous du ski en février ? – Do you go skiing in February?
  • Mon anniversaire est en août. – My birthday is in August.

Abbreviations for the months in French

Just as in English, the months in French have a standard set of abbreviations. Note that for the months whose names are relatively short, it’s customary to just write them in full rather than creating an abbreviation.

Month, French abbreviation Month, French
janv. janvier
fév. février
mars mars
avr. avril
mai mai
juin juin
juil. juillet
août août
sept. septembre
oct. octobre
nov. novembre
déc. décembre

Referring to past, present, and future months

Just as in English, we have some key adjectives in French for talking about last month, this month, or next month. These adjectives can be used with the French months of the year, not to mention days, years, and seasons.

Remember that as adjectives, there are mascline, feminine, and plural forms that need to reflect the gender and number of the noun they modify. There are also some particularities with respect to word order that we’ll cover in more detail when we introduce each one below.

English m. sing. f. sing. m. plural f. plural
last passé passée passés passées
last dernier dernière derniers dernières
this ce, cet cette ces ces
next prochain prochaine prochains prochaines

Passé

To talk about last month, we say le mois passé. The literal translation of passé in English is past, though in this context we can often translate our phrase by using last. The word order is always the same, with passé after the time period it describes.

  • La semaine passée, trois élèves sont tombés malades avec le covid. – Last week, three pupils fell ill with covid.
  • J’ai enfin respecté mon budget le mois passé. – I finally respected my budget last month.
  • L’année passée, je ne suis même pas parti de la France. – Last year, I didn’t even leave France.

Dernier

Dernier in French translates directly as last. Depending on the word order, it can be used to talk about the last thing in a list, or about something that came previously.

To talk about last month, as in the month prior to this month, the word order is le mois dernier.

  • Mes voisins ont déménagé en juillet dernier. – My neighbors moved last July.
  • Le mois dernier, il y avait de la pluie tous les jours. – Last month, there was rain every day.
  • L’année dernière, j’ai eu un retour d’impôt pour la première fois. – Last year I got a tax return for the first time.

The word order is switched to le dernier mois if we’re talking about the last thing in a list, or if we’re referring to our months in plural.

  • Le dernier mois de son contrat, elle n’avait plus de motivation. – The last month of her contract, she had no more motivation.
  • La dernière année de mes études était la plus difficile. – The last year of my studies was the most difficult.
  • Le vendeur a atteint sa cible de vente lors des trois derniers mois. – The salesman met his sales target for the last three months.
  • Les deux dernières semaines, il y avait de la pluie tous les jours. – The last two weeks, there was rain every day.

Ce

To talk about this month, we say ce mois. If the singular masculine noun starts with a vowel sound, we need to use cet (just like a vs an in English). The word order always stays the same.

  • Ce juin, je vais obtenir mon permis de conduire. – This June, I will get my driver’s license.
  • Cet avril mon grand-père aura soixante-huit ans. – This April, my grandfather will be sixty-eight years old.
  • Cette année, ils vont gagner la Coupe. – This year, they are going to win the Cup.
  • Juin et Juillet : ces mois sont mes préférés. – June and July : these months are my favorites.

Prochain

Prochain translates directly as next. It follows the same word order rules that we saw with dernier.

  • Mes beaux-parents viendront nous rendre visite la semaine prochaine. – My in-laws are coming to visit us next week.
  • Le mois prochain, je crois que je dois dépenser moins. – Next month, I think I need to spend less.
  • Nous partons en Italie en août prochain. – We’re going to Italy next August.
  • Ma fille va à l’Université l’année prochaine. – My daughter is going to College next year.
  • Ses résultats du prochain mois vont déterminer si son chef lui accorde une augmentation de salaire. – The results of the next month will determine if his boss grants him a salary increase.
  • Les prochains mois seront difficiles pour les étudiants. – The next months will be difficult for the students.
  • Nous verrons de plus en plus de sécheresse dans les prochaines années. – We’ll see more and more drought in the next few years.

The seasons in French

Now that you know the months of the year, let’s learn the seasons in French.

French seasons English seasons
le printemps spring
l’été (m) summer
l’automne (m) fall
l’hiver (m) winter
  • Le printemps est la meilleure saison pour voir les oiseaux en migration. – Spring is the best season to see birds in migration.
  • L’été est la saison la plus chaude. – Summer is the hottest season.
  • L’automne est ma saison préférée. – Fall is my favorite season.
  • L’hiver dure la moitié de l’année au Québec. – Winter lasts half the year in Québec.

En and Au with the French seasons

As with the months, we usually refer to the seasons with the preposition in. In French, we use en for the three seasons that begin with vowel sounds, while for printemps we use au.

au printemps in [the] spring
en été in [the] summer
en automne in [the] fall
en hiver in [the] winter
  • Au printemps, les ours descendent des montagnes. – In the spring, the bears come down from the mountains.
  • En été, nous nageons à la plage. – In the summer, we swim at the beach.
  • En automne, les feuilles tombent des arbres. – In the fall, the leaves fall from the trees.
  • J’aime boire du chocolat chaud en hiver. – I like to drink hot chocolate in the winter.

Conclusion

We’ve sure covered a lot of details on how to talk about the months in French! Sure, we started with the straightforward vocab list of the twelve months in French, but the majority of our post focused on important grammatical considerations.

We learned the little details about capitalization (never) and gender (all masculine), as well as how to abbreviate the months in French. We learned some other useful vocab about the year, as well as covering the four seasons in French. And to talk about when something happens during our months and seasons, we covered a lot of detail on how to use the right prepositions and adjectives.

Between this post and our other post on the days of the week in French, now you should be able to talk all about your days, weeks, months, and seasons in French!

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