In- Prefix

In- French prefix
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Le préfixe in– et ses variantes

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

Par exemple…

françaisEnglish ajouté àadded to
inachevéunfinished achevéfinished
incapacitéincapacity capacitécapacity
indéfiniundefined définidefined
inélégantinelegant élégantelegant
innomméunnamed nomménamed

IPA pronunciation

  • [in] in front of a vowel or n
  • [ɛ̃] in front of another consonant


While in- is the most common spelling, it can only be added to words that begin with

  • a vowel
  • a consonant other than b – l – m – p – r

For words that start with one of those five consonants, you need a different spelling.

1) im-

This prefix is for words that begin with b, m, or p

françaisEnglish ajouté àadded to
imbuvableundrinkable buvabledrinkable
immobileimmobile mobilemobile
impairuneven paireven

IPA pronunciation:

  • [ɛ̃] in front of b or p, and in the words immangeable, immanquable, immariable, and immettable
  • [im] in all other imm- words

2) il-

This spelling is for words that begin with l

françaisEnglish ajouté àadded to
illégitimeillegitimate légitimelegitimate
illettréilliterate lettréliterate

IPA pronunciation: [il]

3) ir-

This prefix is added to words that begin with r

françaisEnglish ajouté àadded to
irréalisteunrealistic réalisterealistic
irréparableirreparable réparablerepairable

IPA pronunciation: [iʀ]

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French prefix in=

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