When the French letters o and e are pronounced as a single sound,* they combine into a symbol called a ligature: œ. The pronunciation of this symbol depends on the letter(s) that follow it.
- œ plus any consonant is pronounced [e]
– except when followed by st, when it’s pronounced [ɛ]
- œu follows the same pronunciation rules as eu
- œ followed by il is pronounced like eu – learn more: œil
*O and e do not form a ligature when they are pronounced separately, such as when the e is accented – learn more.
Typing oe when it should be œ is a spelling mistake, so learn how to type accents.
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