Euphonic Inversion

Inversion euphonique

Inversion - French word order
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When inversion results in a hiatus (two vowel sounds together), the letter -t must be added for euphony, but only

  1. with the subject pronouns il, elle, and on
  2. when the verb ends in a vowel

Par exemple…

il aime > aime-t-il
elle parle > parle-t-elle
on a > a-t-on
il y a > y a-t-il

 This includes when the verb ends in –te, which means that a schwa must be pronounced between the two t sounds:

il monte > monte-t-il   [mɔ̃ tə til]
elle hante > hante-t-elle   [ã tə tɛl]
on écoute > écoute-t-on   [e ku tə tɔ̃]

 However, -t is not added when the verb ends in a consonant, because that consonant makes a required liaison with the vowel that follows so there’s no need for the euphonic -t.

il sait > sait-il   sait-t-il
elle met > met-elle   met-t-elle
on prend > prend-on   prend-t-on

 Related lessons

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French inversion

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