French/Lessons/Time

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In French, il est is used to express the time; though it would literally translate as he is, it is actually, in this case, equivalent to it is (impersonal il). Unlike in English, it is always important to use heures (hours) when referring to the time. In English, it is okay to say It’s nine, but this wouldn’t make sense in French.

Quelle heure est-il ? What time is it?
Il est une heure. It is one o’clock.
Il est trois heures. It is three o’clock.
Il est dix heures. It is ten o’clock.
Il est midi. It is noon.
Il est minuit. It is midnight.
Il est quatre heures cinq. It is five past four.
Il est quatre heures et quart. It is a quarter past four.
Il est quatre heures moins le quart It is a quarter till 4.
Il est quatre heures quinze. It is four fifteen.
Il est quatre heures et demie. It is half past four.
Il est quatre heures trente. It is four thirty.
Il est cinq heures moins vingt. It is twenty to five.
Il est quatre heures quarante. It is four forty.

Time is often abbreviated using h for heure(s). For example, 9 o'clock AM would be 9h or 9h00. They also use 24-hour time in this format, so 10 o'clock PM would be 22h.

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une heure 1:00
deux heures cinq 2:05
trois heures dix 3:10
quatre heures et quart 4:15
cinq heures vingt 5:20
six heures vingt-cinq 6:25
sept heures et demie 7:30
huit heures moins vingt-cinq 7:35
neuf heures moins vingt 8:40
dix heures moins le quart 9:45
onze heures moins dix 10:50
midi (minuit) moins cinq 11:55
minuit midnight
midi noon


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le lever du jour daybreak lit: the rise of the day
le lever du soleil sunrise lit: the rise of the sun
le soleil levant rising sun
le matin morning
...du matin A.M. lit: of the morning
hier matin yesterday morning
le midi noon, midday
le minuit midnight
l'après-midi Template:French/Section afternoon
le soir evening, in the evening
...du soir P.M. lit: of the evening
la nuit night
le coucher du soleil sunset

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  • Jean-Quelle heure est-il?
  • Paul-Il est midi.
  • Jean -Quelle heure est-il?
  • Paul-Il est deux heures du matin.

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