What are the months in French?

What are the months in French?

by Anne-Lise Vassoille

Updated July 28, 2022

Along with being able to introduce yourself, order food or talk about your likes and dislikes, time expressions are among the most useful vocabulary you’ll need as a complete beginner in French. Among them, knowing the words for months in French will allow you to communicate dates, be it to make an appointment at the hairdresser or the doctor, book a hotel or a flight or specify your date of birth when filling administrative papers. Find out how to say the twelve months of the year in French and how to use them in a sentence with the correct prepositions and structures.

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A few important facts and words around French months to get started

On top of learning the actual words, there are a few important facts to keep in mind about months in French, if you want to use them correctly. Like the days of the week, the months in French never take a capital letter. They are also invariable, with just one form in the singular. 

Like the word mois (month) itself, the French names of months are all masculine. While they are never used with an article, this is noticeable when they are linked to adjectives:

Février est plus court que tous les autres mois de l’année.

>> February is shorter than all the other months of the year.

Traditionally, they are broken down into the four saisons (seasons) of the year. If you have children, you may want to know that the traditional school year in France is cut into trimestres (quarters) rather than semestres (semesters).

What are the French names of months?

Now let’s get to the bottom of our article by listing the French words for the twelve months of the year. You will be able to recognize several of them, especially the last four as their spelling is very close to their English counterparts:

Months in EnglishMonths in French
Januaryjanvier
Februaryfévrier
Marchmars
Aprilavril
Maymai
Junejuin
Julyjuillet
Augustaoût
Septemberseptembre
Octoberoctobre
Novembernovembre
Decemberdécembre

You can also practice your pronunciation with this video.

How do you abbreviate the months of the year in French?

You will often find the following abbreviations on diaries or on sticky notes. Basically, the rule is to use the first three or four letters, followed by a full stop. Obviously, short words like mars, mai or juin don’t need to be abbreviated.

Months in FrenchAbbreviation
janvierjanv.
févrierfévr.
marsmars
avrilavr.
maimai
juinjuin
juilletjuil.
aoûtaoût
septembresept.
octobreoct.
novembrenov.
décembredéc.

How to use the months in sentences in French?

Most of the time, you will find the preposition en (in) before the month in French:

Je suis né.e en janvier.

>> I was born in January.

La fête nationale française est en juillet

>> The French national day is in July.

You can also be a little more specific by adding what part of the month you are talking about:

Expression of timeTranslationExample in FrenchTranslation
en début + mois
début + mois
in early + month
early + month
en début février
début février
in early February
early February
à la mi + mois 
mi + mois
in mid + month
mid + month
à la mi-mars
mi-mars
in mid-March
mid-March
à la fin + mois
fin + mois
at the end of + month
end + month
à la fin avril
fin avril
at the end of April
end of April

Months are also used to express dates. It is important to note that, contrary to English which uses ordinal numbers, the date in French includes cardinal numbers. The only exception is the first day of the month, which requires the ordinal number premier (first). The overall structure is: 

le (+ day) + cardinal number + month

Example:

Le 1er mai est un jour férié en France.

>> The 1st of May is a public holiday in France.


The flavor of the month in French

With only twelve words to memorize and simple prepositions and structures to use them in, learning the months in French will take you hardly any time. But it will prove incredibly useful on a daily basis, in a large number of situations when you will need to express dates. You will get plenty of opportunities both to become familiar with and to practice this vocabulary.

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Anne-Lise is a translator and copywriter working for various industries, such as hospitality and travel, as well as health and well-being. Settled down in London since the end of her university years, she cannot get enough of the exceptional cultural life in the English capital city, starting with theater, be it to see a new West End show or to roll up her sleeves with her amateur drama group. She is also interested in photography, as her Instagram profile shows. She indulges her passion for languages in a translation blog she writes with other linguist friends. Go to her Linkedin page to know more about her background and her professional experience.

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