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…

français English   ajouté à added to
inachevé unfinished   achevé finished
incapacité incapacity   capacité capacity
indéfini undefined   défini defined
inélégant inelegant   élégant elegant
innommé unnamed   nommé named

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

français English   ajouté à added to
imbuvable undrinkable   buvable drinkable
immobile immobile   mobile mobile
impair uneven   pair even

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

français English   ajouté à added to
illégitime illegitimate   légitime legitimate
illettré illiterate   lettré literate

IPA pronunciation: [il]

3) ir-

This prefix is added to words that begin with r

français English   ajouté à added to
irréaliste unrealistic   réaliste realistic
irréparable irreparable   réparable repairable

IPA pronunciation: [iʀ]

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French prefix in=
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