How to Say “Last Year” in French: Formal and Informal Ways

When it comes to expressing the concept of “last year” in French, there are different phrases and expressions you can use depending on the context, formality, and regional variations. In this guide, we will explore the various ways to say “last year” in French, both formally and informally, along with tips, examples, and regional peculiarities. So, let’s dive in and discover the richness of the French language!

Formal Expressions for “Last Year”

In formal situations or when addressing someone with respect, it’s essential to use appropriate language. Here are some formal ways to express “last year” in French:

  1. L’année dernière: This is the most common and neutral phrase used to convey “last year” in French. It is suitable for formal conversations, written texts, and even official documents. For example:

“L’année dernière, j’ai visité Paris pour la première fois.” (Last year, I visited Paris for the first time.)

  1. En l’an passé: This is a more formal and literary expression that can be used in formal writing or speeches. However, it’s not commonly used in everyday conversations. For instance:

“En l’an passé, nous avons réalisé de grandes avancées technologiques.” (Last year, we made great technological advancements.)

Informal Ways to Say “Last Year”

When speaking informally or engaging in casual conversations, you can use these expressions to say “last year” in French:

  1. L’année dernière: Yes, “l’année dernière” is not only used in formal contexts but also in informal conversations. You can always rely on this phrase irrespective of the situation. For example:

“L’année dernière, j’ai passé des vacances géniales à la plage.” (Last year, I had a great beach vacation.)

  1. L’an passé: Similar to “en l’an passé” in the formal category, “l’an passé” is a more informal way to express “last year.” It’s commonly used in spoken language. Here’s an example:

“L’an passé, j’ai amélioré mes compétences en cuisine.” (Last year, I improved my cooking skills.)

Regional Variations

While French is spoken as the official language in many countries, there can be regional variations in vocabulary and expressions. Here’s an example of a regional variation for “last year” in Canadian French:

  1. L’an passée: In Canadian French, you may encounter the expression “l’an passée” instead of “l’an passé.” The addition of an extra ‘e’ at the end is a typical regional variation. For instance:

“L’an passée, j’ai étudié à Montréal.” (Last year, I studied in Montreal.)

It’s important to note that while regional variations can add color to your language skills, the standard expressions are more widely understood and accepted in diverse French-speaking communities.

Summary and Tips

In summary, here are the main expressions for “last year” in French:

  • Formal: L’année dernière, En l’an passé
  • Informal: L’année dernière, L’an passé
  • Regional Variation: L’an passée (Canadian French)

To enhance your language skills and make your French sound natural, here are a few additional tips:

  1. Practice Listening: Listening to native French speakers, whether through music, movies, or podcasts, will help you internalize the correct pronunciation and phrasing of “last year” in various contexts.
  2. Immerse Yourself: Interacting with French-speaking communities or planning a visit to a French-speaking country will expose you to cultural nuances and linguistic variations related to time expressions.
  3. Study Resources: Utilize language learning resources such as textbooks, online courses, and mobile apps that provide comprehensive lessons on vocabulary and grammar.
  4. Read French: Reading books, newspapers, and online articles in French will expose you to different sentence structures and idiomatic expressions that include references to time.
  5. Language Exchange: Engaging in language exchange with native French speakers or fellow French language learners will allow you to practice using “last year” in context and receive valuable feedback.

Remember, learning a language is a journey, and embracing the warmth and beauty of the French language will open doors to new experiences and connections.

Enjoy your French language adventure and bonne continuation!

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Written by Julie Sadie

Bonjour! I'm Julie, a lover of languages with a passion for sharing the French language, culture, and my unique perspective. When I'm not breaking down complex French phrases or uncovering the secrets of French pronunciation, I find joy in photography ("les belles photos") and a good bean soup ("la soupe aux haricots"). I also have a fascinant fascination for exotic animals and the wide world of fashion, with a soft spot for Dior and cloche hats. Je vous souhaite une belle journée! Life is more fun en français, n'est-ce pas?

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