How Do You Say “Ninety” In French?

French is a beautiful language that is spoken by millions of people all around the world. It is a language that is rich in culture and history, and it can open up a whole new world of opportunities for those who take the time to learn it. One of the most important things to learn when studying French is how to count, and specifically how to say the numbers. In this article, we will explore how to say “ninety” in French.

The French translation for “ninety” is “quatre-vingt-dix”. This literally translates to “four twenties and ten”. This may seem like an odd way to say the number, but it is actually quite common in French. In fact, the French language has a unique counting system that can take some time to get used to. However, once you have mastered it, you will be able to count in French with ease.

How Do You Pronounce The French Word For “Ninety”?

Learning to properly pronounce words in a foreign language can be a daunting task, but it is an essential part of mastering any language. If you’re trying to learn French, one of the first things you’ll need to know is how to say the numbers. In this article, we’ll focus on the French word for “ninety,” which is “quatre-vingt-dix.”

Phonetic Breakdown

The French word for “ninety” is spelled “quatre-vingt-dix,” which translates to “four twenties ten” in English. Here is a phonetic breakdown of the word:

French Phonetic English
quatre kah-truh four
vingt vahn twenty
dix dees ten

Put together, the phonetic pronunciation of “quatre-vingt-dix” is “kah-truh-vahn-dees.”

Tips For Pronunciation

Now that you have the phonetic breakdown, let’s discuss some tips for proper pronunciation:

  • Pay attention to the silent letters: In French, many letters are silent. In the word “quatre-vingt-dix,” the “e” at the end of “quatre” and “vingt” are silent, and the “x” at the end of “vingt” is also silent.
  • Practice the sounds: French pronunciation can be tricky, but with practice, you’ll get the hang of it. Pay attention to the sounds of each syllable and practice saying them slowly and deliberately.
  • Listen to native speakers: One of the best ways to improve your pronunciation is to listen to native speakers. You can find French-language podcasts, videos, and music to help you train your ear.

With these tips and the phonetic breakdown, you’ll be able to properly pronounce the French word for “ninety” in no time.

Proper Grammatical Use Of The French Word For “Ninety”

Proper grammar is essential when using the French word for “ninety” to ensure clear communication. In this section, we will explore the correct placement of this word in sentences, verb conjugations or tenses, agreement with gender and number, and any common exceptions.

Placement Of “Ninety” In Sentences

The French word for “ninety” is “quatre-vingt-dix.” It is important to note that “quatre-vingt” means “four twenties,” and “dix” means “ten.” Therefore, the word order for “ninety” in French is the opposite of English.

Here is an example:

  • English: Ninety dollars
  • French: Quatre-vingt-dix dollars

As you can see, the French word for “ninety” comes before the noun it modifies.

Verb Conjugations Or Tenses

When using the French word for “ninety” in a sentence with a verb, the verb must be conjugated according to the subject pronoun and tense. Here is an example:

  • English: I have ninety books.
  • French: J’ai quatre-vingt-dix livres.

In this example, the verb “avoir” (to have) is conjugated to “j’ai” (I have) to agree with the subject pronoun “je” (I).

Agreement With Gender And Number

The French word for “ninety” does not change for gender or number. It remains “quatre-vingt-dix” regardless of whether the noun it modifies is masculine or feminine, singular or plural.

Here is an example:

  • English: Ninety pens
  • French: Quatre-vingt-dix stylos

In this example, “stylos” (pens) is plural and masculine, but the word for “ninety” remains the same.

Common Exceptions

One common exception to the use of the French word for “ninety” is when telling time. In French, time is expressed using the word “heure” (hour) followed by the number of hours and minutes. When the time is between 91 and 99 minutes past the hour, the French word for “ninety” is not used. Instead, the number is expressed as “quatre-vingt(s)” followed by the number of minutes.

Here is an example:

  • English: It’s 3:95.
  • French: Il est quatre heures quatre-vingt-quinze.

In this example, “quatre-vingt-quinze” (ninety-five) is used instead of “quatre-vingt-dix-cinq” (literally “four twenties ten five”).

Examples Of Phrases Using The French Word For “Ninety”

Learning a new language can be tough, but with some practice and dedication, you can become fluent in no time! One of the most important numbers to learn in French is “ninety” (quatre-vingt-dix). Here are some common phrases that use this number:

Examples And Usage Of Phrases With “Ninety”

  • Quatre-vingt-dix ans: This phrase means “ninety years old.” For example: “Mon grand-père a quatre-vingt-dix ans.” (My grandfather is ninety years old.)
  • Quatre-vingt-dix pour cent: This phrase means “ninety percent.” For example: “Le taux de réussite était de quatre-vingt-dix pour cent.” (The success rate was ninety percent.)
  • Les années quatre-vingt-dix: This phrase means “the nineties” (referring to the decade). For example: “Je suis né dans les années quatre-vingt-dix.” (I was born in the nineties.)
  • Quatre-vingt-dix-neuf: This is the number “ninety-nine.” For example: “Il ne reste plus qu’une place, il en manque quatre-vingt-dix-neuf.” (There’s only one spot left, ninety-nine are missing.)

Example French Dialogue With “Ninety”

Here’s an example conversation between two friends using the French word for “ninety” in different phrases:

French English Translation
“Salut! Comment ça va?” “Hi! How are you?”
“Ça va bien, merci. J’ai quatre-vingt-dix ans aujourd’hui!” “I’m good, thanks. I’m ninety years old today!”
“Wow, félicitations! Tu as l’air beaucoup plus jeune!” “Wow, congratulations! You look much younger!”
“Merci! Je pense que c’est grâce à mon régime alimentaire. J’ai mangé des fruits et des légumes depuis les années quatre-vingt-dix!” “Thanks! I think it’s because of my diet. I’ve been eating fruits and vegetables since the nineties!”

In this dialogue, the friends use “quatre-vingt-dix ans” to talk about the person’s age and “les années quatre-vingt-dix” to talk about the time period when they started their healthy diet.

More Contextual Uses Of The French Word For “Ninety”

The French language is rich in vocabulary, and the word for “ninety” is no exception. In addition to its standard usage, there are several other contexts in which the word can be used.

Formal Usage

In formal settings, such as academic or professional environments, the standard word for “ninety” in French is “quatre-vingt-dix.” This literal translation means “four twenties and ten,” which may seem confusing to non-native speakers. However, this phrasing is consistent with the French counting system, which is based on twenties rather than tens.

Informal Usage

In casual conversation, it is not uncommon for native French speakers to use an abbreviated version of “quatre-vingt-dix.” This shortened version is simply “quatre-vingts,” which means “four twenties.” While this may be grammatically incorrect, it is widely accepted in informal settings.

Other Contexts

In addition to formal and informal usage, the word for “ninety” in French can also be used in slang, idiomatic expressions, and cultural or historical contexts. For example, the phrase “avoir quatre-vingt-dix ans” means “to be ninety years old” and is a common expression in French culture.

Another example of cultural usage is the French card game “Quatre-Vingt-Un,” which translates to “Eighty-One.” Despite its name, the game is played with a deck of cards numbered one through ninety-nine.

Popular Cultural Usage

In popular culture, the word for “ninety” in French has been used in a variety of ways. For example, the French film “Quatre-vingt-treize” (Ninety-Three) is based on the novel of the same name by Victor Hugo and depicts the events leading up to the French Revolution.

Additionally, the French singer Edith Piaf famously sang “Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien” (“No, I Regret Nothing”), which includes the lyrics “Ni le bien qu’on m’a fait, ni le mal, tout ça m’est bien égal, non, rien de rien, non, je ne regrette rien” (“Neither the good things that were done to me, nor the bad, all of that is equally irrelevant to me, no, nothing at all, no, I regret nothing”). The line “ni le mal” (“nor the bad”) is pronounced as “neuf-vingt” (“nine-tens”), which is a slang term for “ninety” in French.

Regional Variations Of The French Word For “Ninety”

French is spoken in several countries around the world, and just like any other language, there are regional variations in vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation. One of the most interesting examples of this is the word for “ninety” in French. While the standard French word for ninety is “quatre-vingt-dix”, there are several regional variations that are used in different French-speaking countries.

Regional Variations

In Belgium and Switzerland, the word for ninety is “nonante”. This is a direct translation from the Latin word “nonaginta”, which means ninety. In some parts of Switzerland, particularly in the French-speaking regions, the word “huitante” is also used to refer to the number 80, instead of the standard French word “quatre-vingts”.

In some parts of France, particularly in the south, the word “quatre-vingt-dix” is pronounced as “quat’vingt-dix” or “cat’vingt-dix”. This is a contraction of the original word, and is a common feature of the southern French dialects. In other parts of France, particularly in the north, the word “quatre-vingt-dix” is pronounced as “quatre-vingts-dix”, with the final “s” being added to the word for 80.

In Quebec, Canada, the word for ninety is “quatre-vingt-dix”, but it is pronounced with a more rounded “u” sound, similar to the English word “oo”. This is a feature of the Quebecois accent, which is influenced by both French and English.

Regional Pronunciations

Aside from the different words used to refer to the number 90, there are also variations in pronunciation. As mentioned earlier, the southern French dialects often contract the word “quatre-vingt-dix” to “quat’vingt-dix” or “cat’vingt-dix”. In addition, some regions of France also pronounce the word “quatre-vingt” as “quat’vingt” or “cat’vingt”.

In Belgium and Switzerland, the word “nonante” is pronounced with a more nasal “n” sound, and the final “e” is often silent. In Quebec, the word “quatre-vingt-dix” is pronounced with a more rounded “u” sound, as mentioned earlier.

Overall, the regional variations in the French word for ninety add an interesting dimension to the language, and highlight the diversity of French-speaking cultures around the world.

Other Uses Of The French Word For “Ninety” In Speaking & Writing

While the French word for ninety, “quatre-vingt-dix,” is primarily used to refer to the number 90, it can also have other meanings depending on the context in which it is used. Understanding these different uses is important for effective communication in French.

Multiple Of Ten Numbers

One common use of “quatre-vingt-dix” is to refer to multiples of ten. For example, “quatre-vingt-dix-neuf” means 99, which is ten less than 100. This usage can be a bit confusing for those who are not familiar with French, as the number is essentially saying “four twenties and ten,” but it is a convention that is widely accepted in the language.


Another use of “quatre-vingt-dix” is to refer to someone’s age when they are in their nineties. For example, if someone is 95 years old, you would say “il/elle a quatre-vingt-quinze ans” (literally “he/she has four twenties and fifteen years”). This usage is similar to how we might say someone is “in their seventies” in English.


When telling time in French, “quatre-vingt-dix” can also be used to refer to minutes. For example, if it is 6:30, you would say “il est six heures et demi” (literally “it is six o’clock and half”), but if it is 6:90 (which is the same as 7:30), you would say “il est sept heures et demie” (literally “it is seven o’clock and half”).

While the primary use of “quatre-vingt-dix” is to refer to the number 90, it is important to understand the other contexts in which it can be used. By doing so, you will be able to communicate more effectively in French and avoid confusion or misunderstandings.

Common Words And Phrases Similar To The French Word For “Ninety”

When it comes to numbers, it’s always helpful to know synonyms and related terms to the word you’re trying to learn. In French, the word for ninety is “quatre-vingt-dix.” Here are some common words and phrases similar to “quatre-vingt-dix” that you might come across:

Similar Words And Phrases

  • Nonante: This is the word for ninety in Swiss French. It’s not commonly used in France but can be useful to know if you’re traveling to Switzerland.
  • Trente plus soixante: Literally translated as “thirty plus sixty,” this is another way to say ninety in French. It’s not as commonly used as “quatre-vingt-dix” but it’s still good to know.
  • Quatre-vingts-dix: This is an alternative way to write “quatre-vingt-dix” that you might see in some French texts. It means the same thing but is spelled out differently.

While these words and phrases are similar to “quatre-vingt-dix,” they are not interchangeable. In French, “quatre-vingt-dix” is the most commonly used word for ninety, and using one of these other phrases might confuse native French speakers.


Antonyms are words that have the opposite meaning of another word. While there are no direct antonyms to “quatre-vingt-dix,” there are words that represent numbers that are lower or higher than ninety. Here are a few examples:

Number French English
80 quatre-vingts eighty
85 quatre-vingt-cinq eighty-five
100 cent one hundred

Knowing these words and phrases can help you better understand French numbers and communicate effectively with native French speakers.

Mistakes To Avoid When Using The French Word For “Ninety”

When it comes to using the French word for “ninety,” many non-native speakers tend to make common mistakes. One of the most frequent errors is confusing the word “quatre-vingt-dix” with “quarante” (which means “forty” in English). This confusion often happens because the two words sound somewhat similar and have similar spellings.

Another mistake that non-native speakers make is forgetting to add the article “un” before the word “quatre-vingt-dix.” In French, you always need to use an article before a noun, and “un” is the correct article to use before “quatre-vingt-dix.”


In conclusion, we have explored the various ways of saying ninety in French, including the traditional way, the modern way, and the Belgian way. We have also discussed the importance of knowing how to say ninety in French, especially when traveling or communicating with French-speaking individuals.

Remember that practice makes perfect, and the more you use the French language in real-life conversations, the more comfortable and confident you will become. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, as they are a natural part of the learning process.

So go ahead and practice saying ninety in French, and impress your French-speaking friends and colleagues with your newfound knowledge!

Shawn Manaher

Shawn Manaher is the founder and CEO of The Content Authority and He’s a seasoned innovator, harnessing the power of technology to connect cultures through language. His worse translation though is when he refers to “pancakes” as “flat waffles”.