Learn Large French Numbers Mille, Million, Milliard… (with Audio Exercises)

With numbers over three digits, the logic is the same as in English. Training with audio and knowing your smaller numbers inside out are the keys!

 

Don’t Say the “One” for One Hundred and One Thousand in French

When talking about “one hundred” or “one thousand” in French, we don’t say the “one”, we only say “cent” and “mille”.

However when talking about “one million, one billion” we do say the one: “un million, un milliard”…

Larger French Numbers

  • Mille
  • Deux-mille
  • Trois-mille
  • Quatre-mille
  • Cinq-mille
  • Six-mille
  • Sept-mille
  • Huit-mille
  • Neuf-mille
  • Dix-mille
  • Onze-mille
  • Vingt-mille
  • Quatre-vingt-dix-sept-mille
  • Cent-mille
  • Deux-cent-cinquante-trois mille-quatre-cent-vingt-cinq
  • Un-million-quatre-cent-trente-trois-mille-six-cent-quatre-vingt-deux.

S or no S After Your French Number?

A – with mille

Mille never takes an S.
Trois-mille.

B – with million, milliard, billion, billiard, trillion, trilliard

Add a silent S when it’s over 1.
Deux-billions d’Euros.

De or no de After Your French Number ?

When “mille” is followed by a noun, there is not “de”:
Deux-mille Euros.
Quatre-mille ans.

When million, milliard etc… are followed by a noun, there is a “de” (or a d’).
Quatre-millions d’Euros.
Six-milliards d’années.

Hyphen and French Numbers

There is only an hyphen in numbers under 100. Well, actually as someone pointed out in the common, the rules has changed in 1990. Now, you may write hyphens between all the digits of one number, and I did change this all over this lesson, although both spellings are still accepted (source http://www.question-orthographe.fr/question/le-trait-dunion-dans-les-nombres)

Before: Mille deux cent quatre-vingt-dix-sept.
Since 1990: Mille-deux-cent-quatre-vingt-dix-sept.

Uppercase or Lowercase?

French numbers are written using lowercase, unless the first letter starts the sentence.
Soixante-dix-neuf-mille-quatre-cent-vingt-huit.

Watch Out For the Pronunciation of Cinq, Six, Huit, Dix

Just like I explained in the lesson about the French digits, the French digits 5,6,8 and 10 drop their final consonant sound before another consonant.

This rule applies to cent, mille, million, milliard, billion, billiard, trillion, trilliard…

  • Cinq-mille-six-cents – No q sound at cinq
  • Dix-milliards d’Euros – No s sound at dix

Understanding The Logic Of Larger French Numbers

The logic of big numbers is exactly the same between French and English

You group your number by digits of 3, dividing your groups with the words mille, million, milliard…

So you need to develop your ear to focus on these “separating” words so you can get the whole number.

  • Trois-milliards-deux-cent-vingt-cinq-millions-trois-cent-quatre-vingt-six-mille-sept-cent-huit = 3.225.386.708

So, if you want to master very large French numbers, you need to drill a lot on numbers of three digits (so up to 999) since these numbers will form the blocks for larger numbers.

Comma vs. Period For French Numbers

French uses a comma where English uses a period.

The comma in French is pronounced “virgule”.
Trois virgule vingt-cinq = 3,25 in French = 3.25 in English.

Over a Thousand, French may use a period to group the digits by three.
134.245.956,09 – Cent-trente-quatre-millions-deux-cent-quarante-cinq-mille-neuf-cent-cinquante-six virgule zéro neuf.

How To Say Huge Numbers in French?

You have to be carefully with the word “billion” that doesn’t translate the same way in French, US/Canadian English and British/Australian English…

Note that these numbers, although written “ill” which usually makes a Y sound in French, keep the “il” sound of the exceptions “mille villes tranquilles” (see Secrets of French Pronunciation)

  • 1000 – mille (remember, no “un” there…)
  • 1 000 000 – un million
  • 1 000 000 000 – un milliard (!! one billion in US/CA English)
  • 1 000 000 000 000 – un billion
  • 1 000 000 000 000 000 – un billiard
  • 1 000 000 000 000 000 000 – un trillion

The final d – if any – is silent.

For even bigger numbers, I encourage you to check out wikipedia

Large French Number Exercises

Most people (myself included!) have trouble reading a number over six digits, so it’s normal to read it somewhat slowly.

French Numbers Exercise one – slow

15.937, 2.737, 33.984, 82.755, 103.942, 1.813, 52.972, 93.484, 77.283, 69.487, 92.174, 86.931, 56.237, 3.372, 1.840, 87.669, 9.375, 28.159.

French Numbers Exercise two- faster

90.385, 2.973, 6.837, 1.948, 1.704, 101.743, 3.846, 9.927, 774.388, 3.640, 82.839, 2.744, 3.049, 19.938, 2.940, 38.098, 980.283.

French Numbers Exercise three – a few huge numbers

16.458.350

10.845.858

895.456.123.127

45.000.135

89.145.687

16.789.456.698

103.000.000

456.128.137

758.168.238

78.456.128.684

794.135.498.759

32.124.138

More Audio lessons about French numbers

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