Do you need help learning how to say what time is it in French? If yes, then you are at the right place.
There will be times when you will find yourself asking a French speaker for time and vice versa.
In such a situation, you do not want to say, “I cannot understand you.” Asking for time is a critical vocabulary you must master to interact well with a fellow French speaker.
“Quelle heure est-il?” is the primary phrase to ask a French speaker about the current time.
It is one of the most used basic phrases that you should master and also learn to communicate well.
Today in your French learning journey, we will add a new chapter that will teach you more than one way to ask “what time is it?” in French now.
Let us get started and look at the nine different ways you can ask for time from a native French speaker without making any mistakes.
Quelle Heure Est-Il?: The Standard What Time Is It?
The most common way to ask “what time is it?” in French is “Quelle heure est-il? “
This phrase is neither particularly formal nor overly casual. This phrase is polite enough to use with any person in any situation.
No matter if you want your friend to tell you the time or a stranger. Saying “Quelle heure est-il?” will give you the answer you desire.
- Hey Julia, what time is it? : Salut Julia, quelle heure est-il ?
- Hello Sir, what time is it? : Bonjour Monsieur, quelle heure est-il ?
How To Pronounce “Quelle heure est-il”?
To be able to read & write a word or phrase is not enough. You must be able to pronounce & listen to it well enough to communicate well.
The best way to pronounce any foreign word is to break it and take one syllable at a time.
“Quelle heure est-il?” is pronounced as “Kell-Err-Et-eel,” where:
- ‘Quelle’ is pronounced as the first syllable in the name Kell
- ‘Heure’ is pronounced with a silent ‘h’ and more stress on the ‘r’ sound
- ‘Est-il’ is pronounced like ‘il’ like in the word ‘eel’
Learn 9 Easy Ways To Ask “What Time Is It?” In French:
There are more than one ways to say or ask one thing in French. We studied more than one way to greet people with good morning, good evening, and congratulations. Similarly, there are more than one ways to ask the time.
In French, “Quelle heure est-il?” is the standard way to ask someone what period of the day it is. But it is so common that saying it will not impress anyone, especially native speakers.
So, if you want to make a long-lasting impression and want the other person to respond to you, it is better to have alternatives in your pocket.
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But it does not mean you forget the introductory phrase, as it is the one most people are familiar with and can be used with anyone at any time.
Below we have the nine easy ways to answer your question about how to say what time is it in french.
Quelle heure est – il s’il vous plaît?
When you want to know the time and approach a stranger, to make your question more polite and gentle, you can say, “Quelle heure est-il s’il vous plaît?”
In this expression, you simple add ” s’il vous plaît ” to the end of “Quelle heure est-il”.
The phrase ” s’il vous plaît ” adds a polite please to your question, increasing the possibility of getting the answer.
- Excuse me, what time is it, please?: Excusez-moi, quelle heure est-il, s’il vous plaît?
- Excuse me madam, what time is it, please?: Excusez-moi madame, quelle heure est-il, s’il vous plaît?
1. Il est quelle heure
If you want the casual version of Quelle heure est-il in your vocabulary, then its un-inverted form, “ll est quelle heure?” is the best choice.
It is a phrase most suitable for informal situations, and you can easily use it with your close ones.
“Ilest quelle heure?” translates into “it is what time?”. In other words, Quelle heure est-il is an inverted form of “Il est quelle heure”.
This phrase is prevalent and widely used by native and non-native speakers.
- Juliette, Il est quelle heure? : Juliette, Il est quelle heure?
2. Avez-vous l’heure
For formal events, the best way to ask someone about the time is to say, “Avez-vous l’heure?”.
This phrase is a polite & formal way to ask what time is it in French. It translates to “do you have the time?”.
It is ideal for formal events as this phrase is usually used with “vous” (formal you).
- Excuse me, sir, do you have the time?: Excusez-moi, monsieur, avez-vous l’heure ?
- Yes, It’s 09:30 : Oui, il est 09h30
- Thank you : Merci
3. Vous avez l’heure
In French, inversion is the most polite & formal way to ask questions.
The phrase “vous avez l’heure ?” is similar to Avez-vous l’heure but with much less politeness.
“Vous avez l’heure” translates to “Have you got the time?” which is not a very polite way.
It is better to use this phrase with your close family & friends. Using it with strangers and in a formal environment can make you seem rude.
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However, if you want to make this phrase polite, you can add the person’s title while asking the question.
- Do you know the time, sir?: Vous avez l’heure, monsieur?
4. Tu as l’heure
The phrase “Tu as l’heure” means “do you know the time?” and use the informal ‘you’ that is ‘tu.’
It is a casual way to ask someone for the time and is ideal to use with people you know on personal levels like family & friends.
This French expression is not ideal for use with strangers or in a professional setting.
- Hey, do you know the time my friend? : Salut, tu as l’heure mon ami?
5. Auriez-Vous L’heure
“Auriez-vous l’heure” is the most formal way to ask someone about the time is to say “Auriez-vous l’heure?”.
It is the most polite & formal way to ask what time is it in French. It translates to “would you have the time?” or “do you have the time?”.
This is an old-fashioned expression and is mainly used with people you have a formal relationship with.
It is the reason this phrase is usually used with “vous” (formal you), as this level of politeness is not to be used with just anyone.
And if you want to ensure you are using “Auriez-vous l’heure” at the peak of its politeness, simply add “s’il vous plaît” along with the person’s title.
- Pardon me, sir, would you happen to know what time it is?: Pardon, monsieur, auriez-vous l’heure, s’il vous plaît?
6. Vous auriez l’heure
The phrase “Vous auriez l’heure ” is a less polite version of “Auriez-vous l’heure”.
It is a polite phrase but not as much as its high-class polite sibling, “Auriez-vous l’heure.”
It is good to use with strangers to ask for time or directions without seeming rude or manner less.
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In addition, if you desire to make this less polite version a bit more polite, just add ‘s’il vous plaît’ or ‘person’s title’ in the sentence.
- Pardon me, madam, do you have the time please? : Excusez-moi, madame, vous auriez l’heure ‘s’il vous plaît?
7. Est-ce que vous avez l’heure ?
One of the easiest ways to form questions in French is to add ‘est-ce que’ to a sentence.
In these two phrases, the ‘est-ce que’ is followed by ‘Vous avez l’heure,’ which is an affirmation of “you have time.”
And the combination of the two gives us the question, “do you have time?”.
These phrases are neutral and can be used in casual or formal matters.”
The only drawback is that many learners may find these a bit dragged.
- Do you have the time?: Est-ce que vous avez l’heure ?
8. T’as l’heure
The most informal expression you can use to ask for time from someone is “T’as l’heure?”.
It is the more casual form of “Tu as l’heure?” and is mainly used by younger generations as they tend to shorten ‘tu’ as ‘t’as.’
It is a simple way of speaking and should be reserved for close people.
- Do you have time, Nathalie?: T’as l’heure Nathalie?
Ask the Time of a Particular Event
If you want to ask for a particular time for a specific event or you want to know the exact time for the beginning or end of something in French, you will say “À quelle heure.”
The phrase “À quelle heure” refers to “at what time/when..) And is usually followed by the thing or event you want to know about.
Thus, there are several ways you can use “À quelle heure.”
In addition, a phrase starting with ‘À quelle heure’ tends to be more formal than a phrase ending with it.
- Excuse me; at what time is the concert tonight? : Excusez-moi, c’est à quelle heure, le concert ce soir ?
- When does the class start?: à quelle heure est-ce que le cours commence ?
- At what time does the show end?: À quelle heure se termine le spectacle ?
Periods Vocabulary in French
Now that you know how to ask what time is it in French, it is time to expand your vocabulary on the matter.
It is better to familiarize yourself with more words related to the topic.
Here we have the top words that you should know related to the periods. We have covered the most important and widely used words only for you to get started.
- A Second – Une Seconde
- A Minute – Une Minute
- An Hour – Une Heure
- A Day / A Whole Day – Un Jour, Une Journée
- A Week – Une Semaine
- A Month – Un Mois
- A Year / A Whole Year- Un An, une année entière
- A Decade – Une Décennie
- A Century – Un Siècle
- A Millennium – Un Millénaire
Points of Time Vocabulary in French
A day comprises different points occurring within those twenty-four hours. Dawn, dusk, midnight, sunset, and more are some time points that you may want to talk about or convey to others.
Thus, knowing the French equivalent of your favorite time of the day in your learning journey is best.
- Sunrise – Le lever du soleil
- Dawn – L’aube (F)
- Morning – Le matin
- Afternoon – L’après-Midi
- Noon – Midi
- Evening – Le soir
- Sunset – Le Coucher du soleil
- Night – La nuit
- Midnight – Le Minuit
Relative Time Vocabulary in French
When asking or talking about the time, it does not necessarily means we are talking about numbers.
There are better ways to talk about a time than saying one o’clock or 09:30. Sometimes, we talk about yesterday, tomorrow, today, and other similar scenarios.
Thus, it would be best to learn the French equivalent of these English words to strengthen your time-asking game.
- Yesterday – Hier
- Today – Aujourd’hui
- Now – Maintenant
- Tomorrow – Demain
- The Day Before Yesterday – Avant-Hier
- The Day After Tomorrow – L’après-Demain
- The Day Before, The Eve Of – La Veille De
- The Day After, The Next Day- Le Lendemain
- Last Week- La semaine dernière
- Next Week- La semaine prochaine
- A Little While Ago, In A Little While – Tout À L’heure
- Within A Week- Dans une semaine
Top FAQs About Ways to Ask “What Time Is It” In French with Audio
How do you say what time is it in French?
It is a common scenario where you would need to ask for time from others. To ensure you get the answer, learn the French phrase to ask the question.
“Quelle heure est-il” is the go-to phrase in French to ask someone about the time.
How to tell the time in French?
If someone asks you what time it is right now in French, then you can reply to them by using the phrase “Il est __ heure(s),” which translates into “(It’s ___ o’clock)” in English.
- What time is it? : Quelle heure est-il?
- It’s 11:25 : Il est 11 heures 25 minutes.
What is meant by “Quelle heure”?
If you want to say “what time?” you can say “Quelle heure?”.
It is a phrase that should not be used with strangers. However, it can be used with anyone you know in any scenario.
For example, if someone asks you to be at a meeting but does not tell the time, you can ask for the time by saying, “Quelle heure?”.
Is it okay to ask for time from strangers?
Yes. There are times when in unknown places, you have to interact with strangers.
Whether it is for asking for directions, time, or an address, you need to interact with natives.
Thus, it is not rude to ask for such things from strangers. There will be times when a French speaker will ask you for help. Therefore it should not be considered rude.
How to say all the time in French?
If you want to say “all the time” or “always” in French, then “tout le temps” is your French phrase.
So, if someone asks you how often you listen to music or something similar, you can tell them you always do that task by saying, “tout le temps.”
- How often do you read?: À quelle fréquence lisez-vous ?
- All the time: tout le temps
Strengthen your French learning journey by keeping track of all the everyday use phrases. Asking & telling time is an essential skill you must master to enjoy your time well in a French-speaking nation.
We hope this article helps you learn the best & most straightforward way to ask what time is it in French.