Une dizaine = Ten or so (approximate numbers)

Look at these sentences using approximate numbers:

J'ai une dizaine de chats.I have about ten cats.

Il achète une trentaine de poires.
He is buying thirty or so pears.

Il y avait une centaine de personnes ce jour-là.There were a hundred or so people that day.

Je veux deux douzaines de pommes, s'il vous plaît.I want two dozen apples, please.

In French, to express an approximative number (ten or so, about fifteen...), you can add une/deux/trois ... in front of the number and the suffix -aine at the end of it, as follows:

Number Approximate
10 / dix une dizaine
12 / douze une douzaine
15 / quinze une quinzaine
20 / vingt une vingtaine
30 / trente une trentaine
40 / quarante une quarantaine
50 / cinquante une cinquantaine
60 / soixante une soixantaine
100 / cent une centaine

This is the equivalent in English of saying ten or so, around twenty, or fifteen odd. As in English, douzaine (dozen) means 12 rather than being an approximate number, but the construction is the same as for approximate numbers.

Note: These approximate numbers are feminine, and followed by de. 

ATTENTION: Whereas you'd tend to say in English dozens and dozens, in French the use of dizaine (ten or so) will be more colloquial: des dizaines et des dizaines.

Des dizaines et des dizaines de personnes sont venues à la foire.Dozens and dozens of people attended the fair.

 

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Examples and resources

Il achète une trentaine de poires.
He is buying thirty or so pears.
Je veux deux douzaines de pommes, s'il vous plaît.I want two dozen apples, please.
Des dizaines et des dizaines de personnes sont venues à la foire.Dozens and dozens of people attended the fair.
Il y avait une centaine de personnes ce jour-là.There were a hundred or so people that day.
J'ai une dizaine de chats.I have about ten cats.
I'll be right with you...