Euphonic Adjectives

French euphonic adjectivesFrench grammar is sometimes trumped by pronunciation, as in the case of euphonic adjectives. Because French does not like the hiatus created when a word ending with a vowel precedes a word that begins with a vowel or mute h, a few adjectives change their spelling—and thus their pronunciation—for purely euphonic reasons.



French fractions
In both French and English, there's a lot of overlap between fractions and ordinals: the vast majority of these two types of numbers share the same word. In English, they are identical from "third" on up, while in French they're the same starting with cinquième.




H muet

French h muetThe French H muet is not just silent, but essentially non-existent: words that begin with H muet act as if they begin with a vowel.



French homophones
The word "homophone" comes from the Greek word ομοφώνως ("omofonos"), meaning "same voice." So a homophone / un homophone is a word that is pronounced the same as another word with another meaning, which makes homophones ideal for wordplay ... though not so wonderful for language learners.


How to Type Accents in Any OS

Typing French accents
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.


In- Prefix

In- French prefix
The French prefix in- and its variants il-, im-, and ir- are added to adjectives, adverbs, and nouns to create antonyms. The English equivalents are un- and in-.


International Phonetic Alphabet

French interntional phonetic alphabetThe International Phonetic Alphabet, or IPA, is a set of characters used to standardize pronunciation explanations across languages. It uses a unique symbol for each sound, which makes discussions of different languages much easier.


IPA – Consonants

French IPA - consonant soundsFrench has a total of 20 French consonant sounds, and thus 20 IPA symbols for these sounds. However, three of these sounds are only in words borrowed from other languages and one is very rare, so there are really just 16 French essential consonant sounds.


IPA – Vowels

French IPA - vowel soundsFrench has 19 different vowel sounds and therefore 19 IPA symbols for vowels, divided into three categories: normal vowels, nasal vowels, and semi-vowels.


Irregular Adjectives

French irregular adjectivesFive French adjectives (beau, fou, mou, nouveau, vieux) are particularly tricky because they have very irregular feminine forms as well as a special form used only for certain masculine nouns.





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.