In- Prefix

In- French prefix
Share / Tweet / Pin Me!

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
  • [in] in front of n
  • [ɛ̃] in front of another consonant

Variants

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

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

For words that start with one of those exceptions, 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
  • [ɛ̃] 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: [iʁ]

 Related lessons
  Lawless French Files:  

Stay up to date with Lawless French

Any Questions?

 Get help on the forum.
  
 

More Lawless French

 Subscribe to my twice-weekly newsletter.
       

Support Lawless French

  This free website is created with love and a great deal of work.

If you love it, please consider making a one-time or monthly donation.

Your support is entirely optional but tremendously appreciated.