An or Année? How to choose?
The english word year has two translations in French: An and Année.
Depending on the situation you have to use one instead of the other.
It can be confusing and you may be wondering how to chose the right one.
That’s perfect, because today we’ll see the differences between those two words, and how to chose the right one as simply as possible.
An, all you need to know:
• An is used as a time unit.
• It’s the one to use when it comes to count, tell an age, tell about a specific time, or if you use cardinal numbers (number indicating quantity).
• It carries a notion of precision.
• An is a masculine noun.
– J’ai 20 (vingt) ans (I’m 20 years old)
In this case you tell an age, with a cardinal number and “An” as a time unit.
– Je vais en France dans 2 (deux) ans (I’m going to France in 2 years).
Here you tell, with a cardinal number and “An” as a time unit, when you’re going to France.
– Je voyage tous les ans (I travel every year).
In this case you tell, with precision and with “An“ as a time unit, your travel frequency.
Année, all you need to know:
• Année carries a notion of duration.
• You have to use it with ordinal numbers (the 1st/le 1er, 2nd/2ème etc…), when you speak about a duration or when you can’t be precise.
• Année is a feminine noun.
– La première année (the first year)
Here, you speak about a specific year, indicated by an ordinal number.
– C’était une belle année (That was a beautiful year)
In this case, you’re expressing your feelings concerning what happened during a year.
– Je reste pendant quelques années (I stay for some years)
Here you’re telling, without precision, just a vague idea, how long you’ll stay.