Accents

French accentsWhile French has the same alphabet as English, some of the letters have little decorations that can make them look and sound very different. In French, accents are essential: they're there for a reason, so you must include them when writing.

   

Acute Accent: é

French accentIn 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]. As indicated by the latter, the acute accent changes the vowel's pronunciation to [e].

   

Cedilla: ç

French accentThe little hook added under the letter c in French is a diacritical mark known as a cedilla, une cédille: ç. The letter c with the hook is called c cédille.

   

Dieresis: ë, ï

French dieresisThe dieresis, le tréma, is a French accent found only on two vowels: ë and ï. The dieresis indicates that the accented vowel must be pronounced distinctly from the vowel that precedes it.

   

   

How to Type Accents in Any OS

It's just as important to include accents when writing in French as it is to spell words correctly. It drives me kind of crazy when people say, sorry, I can't type accents on my computer / tablet / smartphone. Yes, you can type accents - yes! even on your old computer. Check out these instructions for Windows, Mac, Linux, iPhone, iPad, and Android.

   

Inversion with je

French inversionInversion with the first person singular je is a little trickier than with other subject pronouns. It's also very formal and therefore rare, so one of those grammar concepts you need to recognize but not necessarily use.

   

ΠLigature

French ligature œWhen the 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.