Age in French - A Complete Guide 👶🧓🏻 (2023)

Expressing Age in French is tricky both grammatically and vocabulary wise: I’ll explain the differences between “grandir” and “vieillir”, the different life stages, the tricky French adjectives for old and young, how to ask someone’s age in French, and the difference between “an” and “année”.

Table of Contents

How to say your age in French?

How To Say “How Old Are You” in French?

Asking A Woman Her Age in French – A Big Faux-Pas

How To Say “How Many + Age Notion” in French?

(Video) Nastya and Watermelon with a fictional story for kids

How To Say Year in French – An versus Année

How To Say Old in French?

How to say Young in French?

30 French Words For Age Stages

How to say your age in French?

First of all, there is a big grammatical trap. In English, to talk about how old someone or something is, you use the construction: “to be + number”.

  • He is 5.
    No need to say you’re counting years.

In French, we don’t use the verb to be (“être” in French). We use the construction “to have (so “avoir”) + number + whatever you are counting”

(Video) Replace the T with a D = Indian (Animation Meme)

  1. Il a cinq ans – He/it is five (years old)
  2. Il a cinq jours – He/it is five days old.
  3. Il a cinq semaines – He/it is five weeks old.
  4. Il a cinq mois – He/it is five months old.

We always specify whatever it is that we are counting, even when it’s years.
You cannot say in French “il a cinq”. You would always say “il a cinq ans”.

To master French numbers, I suggest you study with my free French numbers audio lesson(with plenty of exercises). And for off-line studying, I suggest you take a look at my French number audiobook – study at home or on the go!

Age in French - A Complete Guide 👶🧓🏻 (1)

Mastering French Numbers

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How To Say “How Old Are You” in French?

To ask someone’s age, you would say:

  1. Quel âge avez-vous ? How old are you, using vous.
  2. Tu as quel âge ? How old are you, using tu and a street French colloquial question form.
  3. Quel âge a-t-il ? How old is he (formal way of asking)
  4. Elle a quel âge ? How old is she (casual street French way)

Asking A Woman Her Age in French – A Big Faux-Pas

Asking a woman her age is considered quite impolite in French, especially if you are a man. If you are curious and still want to know, be delicate about it: “est-ce que je peux me permettre de te demander ton âge ?” – this translates literally into “may I allow myself to ask for your age” but it would be the polite way to ask a woman her age in French.

How To Say “How Many + Age Notion” in French?

If you wanted to ask precisely how many week, months… someone or something was, you would say:

  1. Combien de semaines a le bébé d’Anne ? How many weeks is Anne’s baby (watch out, remember to use “avoir”, not the verb to be in French: “être”)
  2. Ce fromage a été affiné pendant combien de mois ? How many months was this cheese aged?

Learn more about question making with my downloadable French audio lesson (formal way, street way, complex interrogative expression such as “depuis combien de temps” (for how long) etc… asking question is more complex in French than you think, and will unlockyour conversation skills).

How To Say Year in French – An versus Année

This is tricky for French students.

“Un an” (masculine, strong liaison with the N making it sound like “un Nan”) and “une année” both translate as “a year”. But they are not interchangeable.

Books will tell you “une année” is a year span, it’s about the duration. I don’t think it’s clear, so I’ll tell you something else, that works most of the time :-)

With a number (except one) use “an” for year.

  • Il a trois ans – he is three.
  • Tous les deux ans – every 2 years.
  • J’y suis allée il y a cinq ans – I went there 5 years ago.

“Année” is mostly used in expressions that you need to learn by heart

  • L’année dernière – last year
  • L’année prochaine – next year
  • Toute l’année – All year long≠ tous les ans – each year
  • Les années quatre-vingts – the eighties
  • L’année scolaire – the school year
  • L’année d’avant / d’après – the year before / the following year

Memorize these expressions, and this won’t be a problem for you any longer.

(Video) I love getting kisses 😳

How To Say Getting Older in French?

We use specific verbs to say to get older in French:

  1. Les enfants grandissent (grandir) – to grow up. – children grow up.
  2. Les adultes vieillissent (vieillir) – to grow old. – adults grow old.

Both can also “rajeunir” – to become/look younger.

How To Say Old in French?

The French adjective for ‘old’ is “vieux (m), vieille/s (f), or vieil”… which I’ll explain below.

Now, even the French adjective for old is problematic. It’s very irregular.

The French adjective “old” goes BEFORE the noun, when most French adjectives go after the noun.

  1. Vieux + masculine noun, singular and plural (the x is silent)
    un vieux chien, deuxvieux chiens – an old dog, 2 old dogs
  2. Vieille + feminine noun (add an S to make it plural)
    une vieille chienne, deux vieilles chiennes – an old female dog, 2 old female dogs
  3. Vieil + masculine noun starting with a vowel or a silent h = the mutant form!
    un vieil immeuble – an old building
    un vieil ordinateur – an old computer
    Watch out! “Un vieil ami” means an old (time) friend. Say “un ami qui est vieux” if you want to say “a friend who is old”…
    The pronunciation of “vieil” is the same as the feminine “vieille”.

Be careful that the noun “les vieux” to talk about old-people is pejorative in French. Use instead “les personnes âgées” or “les séniors”.

Instead of calling someone “old”, it may be more delicate to call them “not very young” = pas très jeune, or “of some age” = d’un certain âge.

  • Anne est une femme d’un certain âge. Elle n’est plus très jeune mais elle est restée très jeune d’esprit
    Ann is a mature woman. She is no longer young, but she remained young at heart (notice we say “young in spirits”in French)

Age in French - A Complete Guide 👶🧓🏻 (2)

4 generations French family: my husband Olivier, our daughter Leyla, Olivier’s mom Cristine and grandmother Geneviève ❤️

How to say Young in French?

The French adjective for “young” is also irregular, since it too goes before the noun, but at least it has only one form:

  • Jeune + masculine or feminine noun. Add an S to make it plural.
    Un jeune chien – a young dog
    Trois jeunes chiennes – three young female dogs.

Here also, you’ll use into expressions. “Un jeune-homme” is a young man, so he is young for sure, but it’s also an old fashion greeting : “bonjour jeune-homme”…

Same goes for “une jeune-femme”.

30 French Words For Age Stages

La Naissance – birth

  1. Un bébé – a baby – always masculine. We then talk about “un bébé fille” (girl) ou un bébé garçon (boy)”
  2. Un nouveau-né – a newborn, masculine.
  3. Il est né / elle est née – he/she was born

L’enfance – childhood

  1. Un/une enfant – a child – mostly used in the masculine, but can be used in the feminine as well. No e at the end though.
  2. Une fille – a girl
  3. Un garçon – a boy
  4. Grandir – to grow up and also to grow in size

L’adolescence – teenage years

  1. Un adolescent, une adolescente – a teenager
  2. Un jeune-homme – a young man
  3. Une jeune-fille – a young woman
  4. Un ado – a teen
  5. Mûrir – to become more mature

L’âge Adulte – adulthood

  1. Un / une adulte – an adult
  2. Un homme – a man (strong liaison un Nomm)
  3. Une femme – a woman (pronounced fam)
  4. Vieillir – to grow old(er)

La Vieillesse – old age

  1. Une personne âgée – an elderly person (une personne being feminine, this expression may refer to men but is feminine)
  2. Un ancien, une ancienne – an elderly person, very old-fashioned.
  3. Un vieux, une vieille – an old person – pejorative
  4. Un sénior – a senior
  5. Mourir – to die
  6. La mort – death, t silent
  7. Il est mort – he is dead / died (t silent)
  8. Elle est morte – she is dead / died (t pronounced)

For more French death related vocabulary and how to express your sympathy in French, read my article.

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Note, in France we talk about “le premier âge” for infancy, and then “le troisième âge” is for retired but physically active people, and we now talk about “le quatrième âge” for people who are old and ill. But we never talk about “le deuxième âge”…

Voilà, I hope this lesson on how to express age in French will be useful to you. You may also like my audio lessons on French numbers.

I post new articles every week, so make sure you subscribe to the French Today newsletter – or follow me onFacebook, TwitterandPinterest.

FAQs

How do you answer age question in French? ›

To answer, saying how old you are, you begin with j'ai followed by your age, for example, J'ai 22 ans. In French, the verb avoir is always used when saying how old someone is. To tell a girl's age, you'd say, for example, Elle a 8 ans.

How do you answer Quel age as-tu? ›

The neutral way to use it would be: “Quel âge as-tu ?” (How old are you) → “J'ai 28 ans et toi ?” (I'm 28 and you?).

How do you ask someone their age in French? ›

To ask someone's age, you would say: Quel âge avez-vous ? How old are you, using vous. Tu as quel âge ?

How do you solve age questions? ›

Important Statements and Equations for "Problems based on Ages":
  1. If the present age is y, then n times the present age = ny.
  2. If the present age is x, then age n years later/hence = x + n.
  3. If the present age is x, then age n years ago = x – n.
  4. The ages in a ratio a: b will be ax and bx.

What's your name translate to French? ›

If you'd like to say “What is your name?” in French, you generally have two options. To pose the question formally, you'd say “Comment vous-appelez vous? Speaking informally, you can simply ask “Comment t'appelles-tu?”

Why is avoir used for age? ›

Use avoir (to have) to talk about age

As you probably remember, avoir is the French verb “to have.” This means that when you ask someone's age, you're literally asking, “What age do you have?” This can be difficult to remember for English speakers, who use the verb “to be” when expressing age. (“How old are you?”)

What French words end in age? ›

French Nouns Ending in Age Tend to be Masculine

A common French masculine ending is “age”, for example le village (village) ,le garage (garage), le fromage (cheese)….. But there are also many exceptions: une image (a picture), la plage (the beach), la nage (swimming), la cage (cage), la rage (rage)…

How old is she meaning in French? ›

how old is she ? how old is she ?. quel âge a-t-elle ?

What is a nice way to ask your age? ›

When asking about someone's age, it's better to avoid the direct question, How old are you? Instead, you can politely ask: Do you mind if I ask how old you are?

How do you ask formal age? ›

“Would you mind if I ask how old you are?” is a polite, direct way to ask someone's age.
  1. “You look so youthful! Do you mind me asking your age?”
  2. “Would you mind telling me your age?"
  3. “Do you mind telling me how old you are? You have so much energy.”
20 May 2022

WHAT IS A in French? ›

Generally speaking, à means "to," "at," or "in," while de means "of" or "from." Both prepositions have numerous uses and to understand each better, it is best to compare them. Learn more about the preposition de. Learn more about the preposition à.

What is the age formula? ›

How is the age calculated ? Age is calculated by counting the number of years, months and days completed since birth. Leaps years and months with 31 days are all factored in the calculations. So, you can expect a very accurate calculation of the age down to the number of days.

What is the age ratio? ›

There are three types of age dependency ratio. The youth dependency ratio is the population ages 0-15 divided by the population ages 16-64. The old-age dependency ratio is the population ages 65-plus divided by the population ages 16-64. The total age dependency ratio is the sum of the youth and old-age ratios.

What would be the person age after 180 months? ›

There are 12 months in a year. Hence, 180 months is 15 years.

How do we reply to Bonjour? ›

What is the proper response to bonjour? It's more than sufficient to simply say bonjour back in response to those who greet you, but if you want to go a step beyond, you can respond with comment allez-vous, which is the French equivalent of asking how it's going.

What are 3 greetings in French? ›

The most important French greetings include bonjour (hello), enchanté(e) (nice to meet you), bonsoir (good evening/hello), salut (hi), coucou (hey), Ça fait longtemps, dis donc (long time no see), Âllo (hello), Ça va? (how are you?), tu vas bien? (have you been well?), quoi de neuf? (what's up?), au revoir!

How do you answer bien y tu? ›

The standard answer is probably "Bien" ("Fine") or "Muy bien" ("Very good"). Of course, both of those responses are often expanded: "Muy bien, gracias.

Should you ask a girl her age? ›

Often, even employers (illegally) value youth over experience. In social circumstances, Miss Manners has always thought it ridiculous to consider one's age an embarrassment. Nevertheless, it is — to many gentlemen, as well as ladies — and therefore, that question should not be asked of anyone except children.

How old are you in English? ›

Phrase. How old are you? Asks the age of the interlocutor. Literally: What is your age in years?

What does the age of 18 mean? ›

This is the age at which a person gains the legal status of an adult. The legal age is set by state law and can differ from state to state. However, almost all states set the base legal age as 18 years old.

What is Hello my name in French? ›

The most common way to say “Hello, my name is” in French is “Bonjour, je m'appelle”.

What is your name to Japanese? ›

おなまえは?” (o namae wa?)

What is your name in French Easy? ›

Comment vous appelez-vous ? (“What's your name?” formal) Comment tu t'appelles ? (Also “what's your name?” but informal)

What are the 6 forms of avoir? ›

  • j'ai eu.
  • tu as eu.
  • il/elle a eu.
  • nous avons eu.
  • vous avez eu.
  • ils/elles ont eu.

What is the feminine form of age? ›

Meanings of "feminine form of âgé" in French English Dictionary : 1 result(s)
CategoryFrench
Common
1Commonâgé [adj]
1 more row

Is age feminine in French? ›

* Attention : French nouns with the suffix -age are always masculine – see Masculine noun endings.

What are some age words? ›

WORDS RELATED TO AGE
  • age.
  • ancientness.
  • antiqueness.
  • archaicism.
  • archaism.
  • elderliness.
  • hoariness.
  • old age.

What are words for age? ›

Synonyms of age
  • era.
  • day.
  • time.
  • period.
  • epoch.
  • year.
  • generation.
  • date.

What word starts with age? ›

6-letter words that start with age
  • agency.
  • agenda.
  • ageing.
  • ageism.
  • ageist.
  • agedly.
  • agenes.
  • agents.

How do you write 70 years old? ›

First we'll talk about when you do hyphenate an age: You do it when the age is acting like a noun and when the age is an adjective that comes before the noun and modifies the noun. In this example, the age—70-year-old—is used as a noun, and you hyphenate it: That 70-year-old with a purple hoodie loves Justin Bieber.

How do you write 12 year old? ›

When age is used as a compound adjective to modify a noun, it must be hyphenated. Note that the modification is placed BEFORE the noun it describes. For example: The art show is for 12-year-old students and younger.

How do you write 14 year old? ›

Year old or Year-old?
  1. Use hyphens for ages expressed as adjectives before a noun or as substitutes for a noun.
  2. Do not use hyphens when you are simply stating the age of something.

What is French for baby girl? ›

Detailed Translations for baby girl from English to French

girl: fille; jeune fille; jeune femme; petite; demoiselle.

What is girl in Old English? ›

From Middle English gerle, girle, gyrle (“young person of any gender”), of uncertain origin.

How can we say a girl in French? ›

girl
  1. (= child) fille f ⧫ fillette f. a five-year-old girl une petite fille de cinq ans ⧫ une fillette de cinq ans. ...
  2. (= young unmarried woman) jeune fille. a sixteen-year-old girl une jeune fille de seize ans. ...
  3. (= daughter) fille f. They've got a girl and two boys. ...
  4. the girls (informal) (= female friends) les filles.

Is it OK to ask a guy his age? ›

As a general rule, you don't want to ask about age if there is any possibility of offending the person. If the person is very clearly young, then it may not be an issue but you just never know. Even if it seems like a young person, age tends to be something that you want to avoid in conversation.

How do I know my crush age? ›

But it's never fun to ask a guy his age.
...
15 Ways To Find Out How Old He Is Without Directly Asking
  1. Stalk him on social media. Social media is always a go-to. ...
  2. Ask mutual friends. ...
  3. Check LinkedIn. ...
  4. Google him. ...
  5. Search public records and data. ...
  6. Analyze his name. ...
  7. Bring up technology. ...
  8. Discuss school memories.
18 Nov 2016

Is it OK to ask about your age? ›

Not a good idea perhaps, but not illegal. While it may fly in the face of what you know about the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), the question itself is legal.

What are age questions? ›

Starting to ask and answer 'Wh-' questions is a milestone that most children start to reach between the age of 1 and 2 years, and they'll continue to develop their receptive and expressive language in the lead up to school.

How do you ask for birthday? ›

If you *do* want the year then "What is your date of birth?" is the question, and they'll tell you the date including the year (if they're comfortable doing so). If you don't need the year, then just ask "when's your birthday" and they'll just give you the month and day-of-the-month.

How do you ask Old English? ›

Like many of the words we use today, ask comes from an Old English word. In this case, the word is acsian, and it can be traced back to the eighth century AD. And, sure enough, it was pronounced ax-ian. As Old English evolved into Middle and then modern English, the word became asken and then ask.

Is there ABCD in French? ›

I want to learn

Let's start with the good news: 'l'alphabet', the French alphabet, is the same as the English alphabet. Both languages share the same letters. However, they are not all pronounced the same way. The French alphabet also has some accents, which changes their pronunciation.

What is C French? ›

1) C. In French, the letter c (= which is pronounced “cé” = [“say”]) has two main pronunciations in a word or a sentence. C = [“sss”] in front of e, i, y. “C” sounds like “sss” in front of the vowels e, i, y.

What's a boy in French? ›

boy → garçon, gars, boy, jeune homme.

Why do we use avoir for age? ›

Use avoir (to have) to talk about age

As you probably remember, avoir is the French verb “to have.” This means that when you ask someone's age, you're literally asking, “What age do you have?” This can be difficult to remember for English speakers, who use the verb “to be” when expressing age. (“How old are you?”)

How do you use avoir with age? ›

Note that to say how old someone is in French, we use avoir + age + ans. Effectively we say I have fifteen years, not I am fifteen. ATTENTION: In French, you cannot omit ans as it wouldn't make sense.

Does age use estar or ser? ›

When not to use ser or estar: Age. When we discuss someone's age in English, we use the verb 'to be'. In Spanish, to talk about your age, you'll need the Spanish verb tener.

How do you say your age in English? ›

So remember… you say: I AM ___(number)__ years old.

How do you say your age in Old English? ›

Saying age

Here's how to do it: Iċ eom þrittiġ - I'm thirty. Hē is tƿā and tƿentiġ ġēara - He is twenty-two years old. Hēo is þrēo and fēoƿertig ƿintra - She's forty-three years old.

What is her name French? ›

Comment s'appelle-t-elle ?

Do the French sing happy birthday? ›

Did you know that the French sing “Joyeux anniversaire” (“Happy Birthday”) not just for celebrations, but for when something goes wrong in a public place?

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