The French language is used in parts of Belgium, Switzerland, and Canada, in several countries of northern and western Africa and the Caribbean, and elsewhere. It is a Romantic term for the Indo-European household. It plummeted from the Vulgar Latin of the Roman monarchy.

Telling the time in French is very important. It doesn’t matter which part of the world you are from so consider it a beautiful thing to be one of the people reading this article. Telling the time in French can be very complex which is why this article is here to help you sort it out and become good at french.

How to say time in French

How to tell the time in French is a great thing for you. Time in French is “le temps”. Knowing how it is in French is great but pronouncing it is another step to make saying the time in French interesting for you.

Imagine being able to tell the time in French and pronounce it correctly. It shows that you know are not just talking but you know it well. That is a plus for you. 

Guess what? There is an easy way for you to get your pronunciation top-notch and learn French by yourself All the help is on italki. 

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How to say the time in French and French time expressions

To tell the time in French, there are several phrases you are to use. Use phrases like: il est une heures. Il est une heure means it’s one o’clock. Il est deux heures meaning it’s two o’clock. 

Another example of three o’clock in French is “il est trois heure.” Which is spelled out as 3h00, or 15h00 to represent this is 3:00 pm. This is excellent if the time is a particular hour in the area.

If the time exceeds by a few minutes or there are minutes to the time, you can mention the cardinal number of minutes after hours. If it’s half past three or 3:30 PM, use the French word for thirty; the french word for thirty is trente. 

In a sentence, it becomes; 

“Il est trois heures trente minute.” 

In the same way that English uses “half past,” the French use “et demie,” so we can also say “Il est trois heures et demie,” or 15h30. Take note that when inscribing the time in French you use something different on the colon using “h.” For example;

10:30 AM becomes 10h30 (dix heures et demie). 

The french word for “time,” as in, “what time is it?” Is l’heure, not temps. The latter means “time,” as in “I spent a lot of time there.” 

Some basic time expressions that you can use to signify not necessarily the time on the clock but the time of the day like morning, afternoon, and Evening are; 

Bonjour: it is used in the morning when you see a person or someone. The word is used to greet that person. In translation to English, it means; Hello or Good morning

Au revoir (in French) which means Goodbye (in English)

Bonsoir ( in French) which means Good evening (in English)

Bonne Nuit ( it represents the dark time of the night) in English it is translated as;  Good night

Temps means Time ( the time of the day or the time on the clock)

Jour means Day ( represents a time in the week; the days of the week like Monday, Tuesday and Sunday).

Time expressions don’t only tell the time but specify the time of the day. Time expressions that specify the time of the day are;

  • Avant-hier which means; The day before yesterday
  • Hier which means; Yesterday
  • Aujourd’hui which means; Today
  • Demain which means; Tomorrow
  • Après-demain Meaning;  The day after tomorrow
  • The expressions above specify the day.
  • Other time expressions are:
  • Five minutes ago, expressed as:  Il y a cinq minutes
  • An hour ago expressed as: Il y a une heureA week ago as; Il y a une semaine
  • Two weeks ago, expressed as:  Il y a deux semaines
  • A month ago expressed as: Il y a un mois
  • A long time ago expressed as: Il y a longtemps

Expressions that specify the time of the day are:

  • La nuit dernière ( the previous night) Last night
  • Ce soir ( the night of the present day) Tonight
  • Demain soir (the night following the current day) Tomorrow night
  • Le matin or dans la matinée In the morning
  • L’après-midi or dans l’après-midi (the périod after noon) In the afternoon
  • Hier matin ( the morning of the previous day) Yesterday morning
  • Hier après-midi ( the afternoon of the previous day)  Yesterday afternoon
  • Demain après-midi ( refers to the afternoon the next day) Tomorrow afternoon
  • Demain soir ( the day in the evening following the next )  Tomorrow evening
  • Hier soir – (it refers to the evening) Meaning Last night 
  • Ce matin (the morning of the day you’re in at the moment) This morning
  • Cet après-midi ( the afternoon of that day) This afternoon
  • Demain matin (the next morning) Tomorrow morning

Time expressions of the week, month and year 

  • This week, is expressed as Cette semaine.
  • This month is expressed as Ce mois-ci.
  • This year is expressed as Cette année.

How to say;  what is the time? In French and French clock times

Knowing how to say the time in French is very useful. If you ever make plans to travel to a french country, being able to ask; what is time in French is important. Telling the time in French would also help you make acquaintances with people who can not help themselves. 

How to say the time in French ; 

  • To say; what is the time in French, you say
  • Quelle heure est-il ? 
  • When giving the the time in French, or when someone asks for the time, you would say ;
  • Il est 13 heures: it is 1 p.m. 
  • Il est bientôt 13 heures: it is 1 p.m. soon
  • Il sera bientôt 13 heures: it will be 1 p.m. soon
  • Il est presque 13 heures: it is almost 1 p.m. this depends on the time the person is asking for.

You may have wondered if french speakers use the 24-hour clock. Yes, they do. French speakers also use the 24-hour clock. 

The difference is, that the English language uses o’clock and the french language uses “heures” for example;

In English “5 o’clock in the morning” would be written in French as;  “(5 heures du matin)”  

“5 o’clock in the evening) in English would be written as “(5 heures du soir)”.

French clock times are not written as English clock times are written. For example;

3: 45 pm in English is written as 3 h 45 in French. It applies to every other clock time.


Learning French online with help from italki, how French clock time is written and the time of the day in French is essential. It could guide you at any place to understand information.

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