Time and Using Advanced Time Expressions

Use the following questions and answers to speak about the time of day:

  • Quelle heure est‐il? (What time is it?) Il est … (It is …)
  • À quelle heure … ? (At what time … ?) À … (At …)

Table 1 gives you a quick refresher course on how to tell time in French.


Here are some more basics on time:

To express time after the hour, the number of minutes is added. Et (and) is used only with quart (quarter) and demi( e) (half).

Moins (less, minus) is used to express time before the hour.

Moins le is used before quart.

Because midi (noon) and minuit (midnight) are masculine, to say “half past,” use et demi, as in the following: Je mange à midi et demi. (I eat at half past noon.)

In public announcements, such as timetables, the official 24‐hour system is commonly used, with midnight as the zero hour:

  • 0 h 30 (12:30 a.m.)
  • 18 heures (6:00 p.m.)
  • 20 h 45 (8:45 p.m.)

Table 2 provides you with common expressions that will help you express time and anything related to it.