Now’s as good a time as any to learn to the days of the week in French! After all, they come in handy – whether you want to tell a story, set a date, or otherwise get around in the French-speaking world.
In this article, we’ll cover the French names for the week days, what you need to know put them to use, and a handy trick to help you remember them.
First up, the basics.
French days of the week
|Thursday||jeudi||jeuh-dee (j here is like the g in beige)|
We’re including a loose French days of the week pronunciation guide here, but as you probably know if you’re learning French, the sounds used in the French language don’t always correlate to English spellings and pronunciation.
To really master the correct way to say these words, you’ll want to learn about French pronunciation.
Remembering the days of the week in French
Ok, so those are the names of the days of the week, but what do they mean? And how do you remember them? They don’t sound much like the English days of the week, right?
Actually, it’s easy to learn and remember the French days – we’ll teach you our favorite trick. Once you know it, they actually make as much or more sense than our weekday names.
See, the English days of the week take influences from German, Nordic culture, Latin, and more, whereas the French days follow more of a pattern. The first 5 days take their names from the planets and associated Roman gods – French is a Romance language, after all.
Monday in French – lundi
Monday in English comes from the German word for moon. Lundi, similarly, comes from the French word for moon – lune. Monday is a moon day, simple as that.
Tuesday in French – mardi
En français, Tuesday is named after our nearest planet (well, most of the time, let’s not get into planetary science right now) and the Roman god of war, Mars – mardi.
It actually is, sort of, in English too, as our Tuesday is for Tyr, son of Odin and Norse god of war – equivalent to Aries or Mars. Tuesday, in short, is a day for making war. So if you roll out of bed on Tuesday feeling frustrated, you’re really just helping it earn its name.
Wednesday in French – mercredi
Continuing along the planetary theme, you can probably guess that mercredi comes from Mercury. Which is probably why Wednesdays make us feel so mercurial. On the one hand, the work week is almost done, but on the other, there’s still half a work week left…
Thursday in French – jeudi
Continuing another planet out, jeudi(Thursday) is named for Jupiter, the 5th planet from the sun and the Roman god of thunder. If your jumping at thunder, it’s probably jeudi!
And another way to remember jeudi? Jeu means game in French, and isn’t Thursday just a perfect night for a game night?
Friday in French – vendredi
Friday, vendredi in French, is perfectly named for Venus, our neighbor closer to the sun and the Roman god of love. Looking for a date night? Look no further than Venus’ very romantic vendredi.
Fun fact: Ever wondered if there’s a Black Friday in France? While originally the event was uniquely American (since it falls after American thanksgiving), but many companies worldwide have adopted the annual sale. While it’s not a national holiday, Black Friday is now somewhat known in France. And the name for Black Friday in French? Vendredi fou – meaning Mad Friday or Crazy Friday. An apt name!
Saturday in French – samedi
While English switches over to naming Saturday for Saturn, French switches away. You might be surprised to hear that, rather than being named for Saturn, samedi, the French name for Saturday, actually comes from the Latin for the day of the Sabbath – originally sambati dies or sambatum, now adapted to samedi in French.
Sunday in French – dimanche
Last but not least, we have Sunday – dimanche. Like Saturday, this name is passed down from a Latin root originally meaning the Lord’s Day. The Latin dies dominica became didominicu which ultimately evolved into dimanche.
Chart for remembering the French week days
|Sunday||dimanche||The Lord’s Day|
Putting the 7 days of the week in French to use: 5 things you need to know
1. Start with Monday
In the English-speaking world, calendars often start on Sunday. In French, however, the week starts on Monday – just like the working week.
2. Skip the “on”
In English, we say that we do things “on Monday”, “on Saturday nights,” and so on. Simply the name of the day will do. Take a look at this in action:
I’ll be there (on) Wednesday at 8 pm.
Je serai là mercredi à 20 heures.
I have to see you (on) Friday!
Il faut que je te voie vendredi!
This does sort of overlap with English, but while we could add in an “on”, in French, there’s no “on” – or “the”, as in the Spanish days of the week.
In fact, in French, adding le (the) in front of a day implies something habitual.
I am always at school on Tuesday mornings.
Je suis toujours à l'école le mardi matin.
3. Capital letters not required
In French, there’s no need to capitalize the days of the week with only one exception: when they start a sentence. Otherwise, leave it lowercase! The same is true for months, nationalities (when used as an adjective), and languages.
4. It’s a boys’ club
Learning French means memorising a lot of genders. But the days of the week are all masculine, so they’re fairly easy. That means we always use le, un, or les when referring to them.
5. Plurals follow simple rules
If you need to make a day of the week plural, you simply add an s at the end, just like English. The key difference is only the le habitual rule.
We use le, not plurals, for habitual actions and specific dates.
I go to the office on Fridays.
Je vais au bureau le vendredi.
I hate Mondays.
Je déteste le lundi.
On thursday the 8th of October, he appeared again.
Le jeudi 8 octobre, il est réapparu.
We only really use plural when we’re talking about the days as a definite group, meaning when we would add an article like ‘the’ in English. For example:
I’m free all of the Mondays in August.
Je suis libre tous les lundis d'août.
The Sundays when he would leave were always rainy.
Les dimanches où il partait étaient toujours pluvieux.
It’s a little complicated, but the long and short of it is that you probably won’t need to pluralize weekdays very often.
And now you know your days of the week in French
There you have it, you’re ready to talk about the days of the week, lundi to dimanche. There’s only one last phrase you need to get the party started: le weekend!
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