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French Level 1
    Unit 4: Leçon 2
    Quelle Heure Est-Il?
I am very excited now to FINALLY get to teach you how we tell time in French. Take a close look at the pictures and words below. Listen and repeat:
Quelle heure est-il? Track 37
Il est
  une heure /
 treize heures
  deux heures /
  quatorze heures
trois heures /
quinze heures
 quatre heures /
  seize heures
cinq heures /
dix-sept heures
six heures /
dix-huit heures
  sept heures /
dix-neuf heures
   huit heures /
  vingt heures
neuf heures /
vingt-et-une heures
  dix heures /
vingt-deux heures
onze heures /
vingt-trois heures

TRÈS BIEN! Notice how there are two sets of numbers for each hour. That is because in France, time is on a 24 hour clock. However, we can differentiate times of day. For example, I can say, "Il est une heure" for one o'clock and I can say, "Il est treize heures" as well. Both phrases mean it is one o'clock. So what is the difference? The first phrase means one o'clock in the morning and the second phrase means one o'clock in the afternoon. If I want to say that it is one o'clock in the morning, I may add the words, "du matin" (of the morning) or "Il est une heure du matin". To say it is one o'clock in the afternoon I can say, "Il est treize heures" or "Il est une heure de l'après midi".

For times in the evening, we do the same thing. Evening begins at 5:00 pm in the French speaking world. If I wanted to say it is five o'clock in the morning, how would I do it? Like this: "Il est cinq heures" or "Il est cinq heures du matin". Now then, how would I say it is five o'clock in the evening? I would say either, "Il est dix-sept heures" or "il est cinq heures du soir".

Let's take a closer look at the "time of day" words:

Track 38
Des Phrases  
du matin in the morning
de l'après midi in the afternoon
du soir in the evening

Now I know what you are thinking. How do we indicate times before or after the hour? It is really very simple. Let us begin with the quater hours. Regardez (look)

Note the words in bold type:

Track 39
Il est: cinq heures et quart sept heures et demie onze heures moins le quart

Let's look at and repeat the words in bold again:

Track 40
Quater/Half Hours  
et quart and a quarter
et demie and a half (thirty)
moins le quart minus a quarter (quarter to)

By this time I am sure that you are wondering how do we tell other times, like, oh, 5:23 a.m. par exemple (for example). It is almost exactly the same thing as in English. Look!

Track 41
Around the Clock  
Il est cinq heures vingt-trois It is five twenty-three a.m.
Il est vingt heures quarante-deux. It is eight forty-two p.m.
Il est dix heures seize It is ten sixteen a.m.

As you can see, telling time in French and telling time in English are very similar. The difference is the addition of the word heure(s) (hour), indicated as a letter "h" (which goes where the symbol ":" would go in English, between the hour being discussed and the minutes following that hour).

Suppose that you want to write the times in the graph above using numerals instead of words. This is also VERY similar to English. Regardez en bas (Look below):

Track 41
Numerals Around the Clock  
5h23 5:23 a.m.
20h42 8:42 p.m.
10h16 10:16 a.m

Telling time is much easier than you thought, yes? I hope so. I am going to take a break and M. Charon is going to lead you in the next lesson.

Introduction / Leçon 1 / Leçon 2 / Leçon 3