The French quote "Tous les 36 du mois" explained

Get ready to learn all the things you need to know about the basic expression “Tous les 36 du mois”.

To be clear, it includes a complete guide of what it is and how to use it in everyday life with an audio example. And that’s not all, we also sprinkled useful things like synonym, dialogue example, slow pronunciation audio and more!

If you are interested, more of these expressions are available on this page and the directory of all our French words content on this page. C’est parti ! (Let’s go!)

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French to English translation

Pronunciation guide

Slow pronunciation

Normal pronunciation

What does it mean exactly?


The literal meaning is:

  • Tous → All / Every
  • les → the
  • 36 → 36
  • du mois → of (the) month

The French expression “Tous les 36 du mois” or “Tous les trente-six du mois” is an ironic way to say “Never / Almost never“. It is an absurd reference to a situation that will certainly never happen, since there isn’t a 36th day of the month.

It’s very similar to the English expression “Once in a blue moon

How to use it

If someone asks you how often you do sport, you can say “Tous les 36 du mois !” a.k.a. never…

You can also use similar expressions, for example, if someone asks you when you will stop eating fast food, you can answer: “À la Saint-Glinglin” → During Saint-Glinglin’s day (A day that doesn’t exist) or “Quand les poules auront des dents” (When the hens will have teeth).

Fun stuff

You might wonder about the number 36. Because, any number above 31 works too, right?

Well, there are tons of French expressions with the number 36…here are some:

  • Tous les trente-six du mois. (Never)
  • Voir trente-six chandelles. (To be knockout)
  • Il n’y a pas trente-six solutions. (There aren’t many solutions)
  • Faire trente-six choses à la fois. (To multitask)
  • Être au trente-sixième dessous (To be very worried)

And what’s crazy is that we don’t know for sure why… One of the most common theories is that it comes from ancient Egyptian astronomy and their 36 decans (small constellations), but nothing is certain…

Synonyms and similarities

  • Quand les poules auront des dents → When the hens will have teeth
  • À la Saint-Glinglin → During Saint-Glinglin’s day (doesn’t exist)
  • La semaine des quatre jeudis → The week of the four Thursdays

Example in a story with French audio

Now, let’s see a complete example of this expression in a story with slow French audio and the English translation below.
Oh le menteur !
Oh the liar!
Pierre et Brigitte avaient un appel vidéo.
Pierre and Brigitte had a video call.
Comme d’habitude, ils parlèrent un peu de leur journée et des nouvelles…
As usual, they talked a bit about their day and the news…
Brigitte:   J’ai lu récemment que le sport aide à lutter contre le stress.
I recently read that sport helps to fight against stress.
Pierre:   Oui je sais. C’est un moyen efficace pour se relaxer et mieux dormir.
Yes I know. This is an effective way to relax and sleep better.
Brigitte:   Exactement ! D’ailleurs, tu cours toujours tous les matins ?
Exactly! By the way, are you still running every morning?
Pierre se mordit la lèvre inférieure et regarda Emily d’un air coupable…
Pierre bit his lower lip and looked at Emily with a guilty face…
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