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Expressing fractions - general (numbers)

Beware not to mix up fractions (to describe a part of a whole: half, third, fourth...) and ordinal numbers (to describe an order/rank: 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, ...).
For ordinal numbers, see Forming ordinal numbers (1st, 2nd, 10th...).


Look at these examples of fractions:

un cinquième
1/5 - one fifth

deux cinquièmes
2/5 - two fifths

seize vingtièmes
16/20 - sixteen twentieths

To express fractions in French, you usually use both cardinal (un/deux/trois...) and ordinal numbers (premier/cinquième...) the same way as in English (one fifth).

Note also that just like in English, the second number is plural if the first is.


ATTENTION: 
Here are the irregular fractional numbers:

un demi
1/2 

 un tiers 
1/3

deux tiers
 2/3

trois quarts
3/4

un quart
1/4

 

Examples and resources

un cinquième
1/5 - one fifth


seize vingtièmes
16/20 - sixteen twentieths


deux cinquièmes
2/5 - two fifths


special forms


un demi
1/2 


un quart
1/4


trois quarts
3/4


deux tiers
 2/3


 un tiers 
1/3


Q&A

William

Kwiziq community member

9 February 2018

1 reply

Trois sixièmes ou un demi

I appreciate that exercise is showing how to write fractions. However, do they actually say "trois sixièmes" instead of "un demi" in everyday life?

Gruff

Kwiziq language super star

14 April 2018

14/04/18

Hi William - I'm not quite sure I've understood what you're asking. Could you elaborate?

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

22 December 2016

1 reply

Joakim asked : why one says "tiers monde" rather than "troisième monde" ?

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

22 December 2016

22/12/16

Bonjour Joakim !

​The expression "le Tiers Monde" to say "the Third World" is fixed as it is in English: this is the only way to say this in French.
​"Le Troisième Monde" would feel like there are more than one world, i.e. one planet, when here it's more of a division of the world into three "parts", hence the use of the fraction here.

À bientôt !

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