How to Count to 50 in French: 11 Steps (With Pictures)

Table of contents:

How to Count to 50 in French: 11 Steps (With Pictures)
How to Count to 50 in French: 11 Steps (With Pictures)

When you learn to speak a language, learning to count is probably one of the first tasks. Counting to 50 in French requires a bit of memorization. However, once you know until the 19th, the repeating pattern will kick in just like in Spanish. Repetition can help you master your French pronunciation, especially when it comes to nasal sounds that are complicated. Bonne chance! or good luck!


Part 1 of 3: Count from 1 to 29 in French

Count to 50 in French Step 1
Count to 50 in French Step 1

Step 1. Memorize the numbers from 1 to 9

As in Spanish and other languages, the numbers from 1 to 9 in French are singular words that you can learn by memorizing them. Fortunately, they are not too difficult. Here are some tips that may help.

  • Un (an) is 1. The same word is used as a masculine article in French that means “un”, as in “un café” (which will mean the same as in Spanish).
  • Deux (du) is 2. You can remember this when you think of the word "double."
  • Trois (thua) is 3. Remember this as you think how similar it is to the word "triple."
  • Quatre (katr) is 4. Remember this when thinking of “a quarter”, which is 1/4 of something.
  • Cinq (sank) is 5.
  • Six (sis) is 6. It looks like the word “six” in English, but it's pronounced differently.
  • Sept (set) is 7.
  • Huit (uit) is 8.
  • Neuf (nef) is 9.
Count to 50 in French Step 2
Count to 50 in French Step 2

Step 2. Continue with the numbers 10 through 19

To remember the numbers from 11 to 16, think of the numbers from 1 to 9, but adding the “z” sound at the end. For the numbers 17 to 19, you will form the numbers as you would the rest, saying the first digit (in the decimal place) and then the second digit (in the units place).

  • Dix (dis) is 10.
  • Onze (onze) is 11. You can remember it by thinking of the same word in Spanish. The number 11 is created from two digits, which are "one".
  • Douze (duz) is 12.
  • Treize (trez) is 13.
  • Quatorze (ca-torz) is 14.
  • Quinze (kanz) is 15.
  • Seize (sez) is 16.
  • Dix-sept (di-set) is 17.
  • Dix-huit (dis-uit) is 18.
  • Dix-neuf (dis-nef) is 19.
Count to 50 in French Step 3
Count to 50 in French Step 3

Step 3. Add the numbers 1 to 9 to the word vingt (van) to make the numbers 21 to 29

Once you hit 20, the French number words follow the same pattern that is also used in Spanish. The only exception is 21, for which an et (and) is added between the words of the digits.

  • Vingt et un (van-te-an) is 21. The literal translation would be "twenty-one." Note that you must pronounce the t before the vowel sound. It is not pronounced if it comes before a consonant.
  • Vingt-deux (van-du) is 22.
  • Vingt-trois (van-thua) is 23.
  • Vingt-quatre (van-katr) is 24.
  • Vingt-cinq (van-sank) is 25.
  • Vingt-six (van-sis) is 26.
  • Vingt-sept (van-set) is 27.
  • Vingt-huit (van-uit) is 28.
  • Vingt-neuf (van-nef) is 29.

Part 2 of 3: Count from 30 to 50 in French

Count to 50 in French Step 4
Count to 50 in French Step 4

Step 1. Say trente (thant) for the number 30

All numbers 30 through 39 begin with the word trente, followed by the correct word for each digit in the ones place (the numbers 1 through 9). This is the same pattern you saw for the numbers 20 to 29 in French. Don't forget to add an et to say 31: trente et un (than-te-an).

Although the t at the end of vingt is silent, it is pronounced between trente and in other numbers in French if they are before an e. For example, you would say thant-katr for 34

Count to 50 in French Step 5
Count to 50 in French Step 5

Step 2. Use quarante (kag-rant) to count from 40 to 49

Following the same pattern, start with 40 and then add the correct words for the digits in the ones place (the numbers 1 through 9). Place et between the digits of the number 41: quarante et un (kag-ran-te-an).

The word quarante can be a good opportunity to practice the French r. Make the sound from the base of your throat, as if you are gargling

Count to 50 in French Step 6
Count to 50 in French Step 6

Step 3. Learn the word cinquante (san-kant) to finish counting to 50

Cinquante means 50 in French, but you shouldn't end here. As before, put the correct words for the digits in the ones place (numbers 1 through 9) to the word fifty. Not only will you be able to count to 50, but also to 59 with the words you already know.

  • Cinquante has two vowels after an n, which indicates a nasal pronunciation. With this word you will be able to practice the nasal sounds of the vowels in French.
  • Remember that 51 is cinquante et un (san-kan-te-an).

Part 3 of 3: Mastering French Pronunciation

Count to 50 in French Step 7
Count to 50 in French Step 7

Step 1. Start with the vowels in French

While the French language has various accents and diacritics (the signs above the letters) that can confuse beginners, none of these are found in French numbers. Knowing the basic sounds of vowels and practicing them with numbers can help you improve your pronunciation in French in general.

  • The a is pronounced like the a in "rice." The combination ai is pronounced more softly, like the a of an "ah."
  • An e without a diacritic sign is pronounced like the double or of the word “good” in English, just like the combination eu. If it comes before an f, it sounds more like an o, gesturing like you're going to pronounce an e.
  • The i is pronounced like the i for "island." You will notice this in the words six and dix.
  • Or it's pronounced as if you were going to say "bear." The combination ou sounds like the same combination of the vowel of the word "soup" in English.
  • You can pronounce the u in a similar way to the vowel in "tú", although the exact sound does not exist in Spanish. Since you won't come across this sound in numbers, you can skip it for now.
  • Every time a vowel comes before an n, it will be a nasal vowel. This modifies the basic pronunciation. For example, the u in the word un (1) is pronounced from the base of the throat.
Count to 50 in French Step 8
Count to 50 in French Step 8

Step 2. Pronounce most consonants as if they were Spanish

French uses basically the same alphabet as Spanish, so most consonants are pronounced similarly. Once you've practiced a bit, it will be easy to remember how to pronounce those that are slightly different.

  • If the letter h appears at the beginning of a word, it is usually silent. For example, with the word huit (8), the sound j comes from the pronunciation of the vowels ui combined. The h at the beginning is silent.
  • When you see a q or what in French, pronounce them as k. This is seen in the numbers quatre (4) and quatorze (14). This pronunciation is sometimes found in Spanish, as in etiquette, which is a word similar to French.
  • The letter c is pronounced as an s if it comes before an e or an i. It is not that different from English, which also has a soft c, as in the words "office" and "face." In fact, most English words that have a soft c come from French.
Count to 50 in French Step 9
Count to 50 in French Step 9

Step 3. Pronounce the French r from the base of your throat

This r sounds very different from the r in Spanish. This is because the sound comes from the base of the throat, rather than the front of the mouth.

  • The French r is guttural, but not as guttural as some sounds in other languages, such as German. Think about the sounds you would make if you were gargling and not the sounds you would make clearing your throat.
  • To find the correct place to pronounce the French r, pronounce k with your mouth closed. You should feel that it is at the base of the tongue. Practice pronouncing the r sound from there. It may take a while to get it right. However, until you do, rest easy knowing that people will understand you if you use the normal r in Spanish or with a slight vibration.
Count to 50 in French Step 10
Count to 50 in French Step 10

Step 4. Practice the nasal sounds until you know them well

Nasal sounds notably appear in various numbers in French, including vingt (20) and un (1). To do it correctly, don't let the air out of your mouth and breathe out a bit through your nose instead.

In general, if you see an ng in a word, it is a sign that you should pronounce it nasally. Several Spanish words with an ng, such as penguin, are also pronounced with a light nasal accent (or significant, depending on the regional accent)

Count to 50 in French Step 11
Count to 50 in French Step 11

Step 5. Skip the last letter when speaking multiple French words

Like the silent e in English, French also has several silent consonants. Some of these lettres muettes (silent letters) appear regularly in French numbers.

  • For example, in the word vingt (20), the g and t are basically silent (although the ng indicates that this word must be pronounced nasally).
  • The word quatre (4) is another number in French with silent letters. In this case, the r and e are silent.

Popular by topic