Elision

French elisions
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Élision

An elision is a type of contraction that occurs when two words are combined: one or more letters are dropped and replaced with an apostrophe. In English, elisions like "I’m" and "can’t" are optional and indicate informality. In French, however, written elisions are required, regardless of the register you’re speaking or writing in.

There are four main groups of written French elisions:

1) Definite articles

Le and la elide with nouns that begin with a vowel or h muet.

le + animal l’animal
le + homme l’homme
la + Ă©cole l’Ă©cole
la + haleine l’haleine

Exception: la une (front page of a newspaper)

2) Direct object pronouns

Le and la contract with verbs that begin with a vowel, h muet, or adverbial pronoun y.

je le + ai je l’ai
tu le + hĂ©rites tu l’hĂ©rites
il la + obĂ©it il l’obĂ©it
elle la + y voit elle l’y voit

3) Other two-letter words that end in e muet

These elide when followed by a vowel, h muet, or adverbial y.

ce ce + est c’est
de de + azur d’azur
je je + aime j’aime
me je me + habille je m’habille
ne il ne + aime pas il n’aime pas
se ils se + adorent ils s’adorent
te tu te + y mets tu t’y mets

Exception: No written elision when je is inverted.

 Puis-je + aller Puis-je aller
 Ai-je + envie Ai-je envie

 Je and tu have additional elisions in informal French.

3½) Que, jusque, lorsque, and puisque also elide in this way:

que que + ellesqu’elles
jusque jusque + Ă jusqu’Ă 
lorsque lorsque + onlorsqu’on
puisque puisque + ilpuisqu’il

Exception: presque – presque Ă , presque impossible*

4) Elisions figées (Fixed elisions)

aujourd’huitodaycontraction of au + jour + de + hui from the 12th century
d’abordin the first place, first of all
d’accord
d’ac
okay
OK
 
d’ailleursbesides, moreover 
d’aprèsaccording to 
d’habitude
d’hab
usually, as a rule 
entr’acte~intermissioncontraction of entre + acte only used in English; the French write entracte
*presqu’Ă®lepeninsulathe only contraction with presque
quelqu’unsomeone 
s’il
s’ils
si + il  (if he/it)
si + ils  (if they)
but notsi + elle
si + elles
si + on
si elle
si elles
si on

  No elision

Before …  
 h aspirĂ© la haine, je hoquette
 onze Je pense que onze euros seront suffisants.
 oui le oui et le non
 nouns that begin with y le yaourt, le yacht…
In …  
 la une (front page of a newspaper)
After …  
    qui Je ne sais pas qui il cherche. (qu’il = que + il)

 Elision also refers to the dropping of the e sound (e instable), which Le Bon Usage calls l’Ă©lision comme phĂ©nomène phonĂ©tique.

 Two words that combine into one with a different spelling result in a contraction.

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French elisions

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