Ans vs. Années
I am confused whether "ans" and "années" are used interchangeably or if there is a specific context that they are each to be used in. I understand that "ans" is masculine and "années" is feminine, however, what are the rules for using each form?
The word an is used for ordinal numbers (1, 2, 3, etc) , unless an adjective is used to describe the word year. In that case the word années is used. Sometimes either word is acceptable.
adjective: "a word naming an attribute of a noun, such as sweet, red, or technical."
It depends on how you view the year, where if it is a point in time, as in using an ordinal number, for the purposes of counting or stating a date, then use the masculine l'an
Use the feminine année is it is :
- more subjective, based on personal feelings, tastes or opinions,
- Focusing on the elapsed time and events that occur in a particular year.
- I am 20 years old : J'ai vingt ans.
- I ate there three years ago : J'ai mangé il y a trois ans.
- I was a student for four years. : J'étais étudiant pendant quatre ans.
- It was in the year 2000. : C'était en l'an 2000.
In the year 2020 : En l'an 2020
counting years :
every single year : tous les ans
- every other year, every two years : tous les deux ans
While for experiencing events and with quantifiers of few, many, and indefinite counting, as well as adjectives, you use année
- Last year was good : L'année dernière était bonne
- Two good years : deux bonnes années
- It was some years ago. : C'était il y a quelques années.
- In the third year. : Dans la troisième année.
As always , if I have anything incorrect, I trust someone will point this out. I am also learning French, and not a master of it. ༠