In French, E is the only letter that can be modified with l’accent aigu, the acute accent. With the accent, it may be called either e accent aigu or simply é, pronounced [e] (more or less like "ay"). As indicated by the latter, the acute accent changes the vowel’s pronunciation to [e].
Note that there are several other spellings which create the same pronunciation – see lesson on E.
At the beginning of a word, é is usually a sort of linguistic marker, indicating that the Old French or Latin word started with es or s. (Incidentally, the English equivalent often starts with s or es as well.)
|été||originally spelled esté||summer|
|établir||from Latin stabilire||establish|
É is an open vowel, which means it can only be found in open syllables. It never precedes the letter x or any doubled consonant, and it’s never found in the final syllable of a word followed by any consonant other than s. (With the exception of apocopes like dém, short for démission.)
Accent on grammar
1) The past participle of all -er verbs ends in é.
|aller||je suis allé|
2) É features in the é_er to è_er type of stem-changing verb: it changes to è (e accent grave) in the affected conjugations.
3) Traditionally, é was added to the end of regular -er verbs in inversion with je:
- Letter: E
- Open vs closed
- Past participles
- Stem-changing verbs
- How to type French accents
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