Le lendemain, il est parti.
luh lahd-maa, ee lay paar-TEE. Click below to hear this.
The next day, he left.
There are two ways to talk about his departure: future, or past. let’s suppose, for a moment, that he is going to leave tomorrow. We have so many ways to say this!
We could say:
Demain il va partir.
Il va partir demain.
Demain il part.
Il part demain
Just like English, you can use the future or the present tense to talk about a future action: in English, He’s leaving tomorrow.
But if you want to narrate what he did in the past, you can’t use demain anymore. That’s future, by definition. It comes from the Old French, and means in the morning (Old French main = matin, morning).
To turn tomorrow into the next day, English calls for a whole new word. Not so the French–or not quite! Can you see demain in le lendemain? Notice that the French turns an adverb into a noun, which requires the use of an article. Very roughly, le lendemain translates as the day that came in the morning.
You can also say Il est parti le lendemain, a simple reversal of the word order. Depends on which aspect you want to emphasize: the timing, or the fact of his departure. Sounds dramatic either way, doesn’t it?