Spelling Equivalents

French English spelling equivalents
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Équivalents orthographiques

Thanks to extensive Latin and French influence on English, French and English have many corresponding spelling patterns. These come in handy when learning French, as it means there are lots of cognates (words that are identical or similar) that you’ll easily recognize and understand at first sight – though you do need to beware of faux amis.

Knowing common spelling equivalents can also helpful when you’re writing in French, potentially saving you from having to looking up so many words in a dictionary.

 Before you start, a couple of notes:

For the most part, these aren’t hard and fast rules – consider them more like general guiding principles that are bound to have some exceptions.

Also remember that there are often other spelling differences between the two languages, such as accents in French and/or extra letter(s) in one of the languages. For example, it’s helpful to know that French’s ment is equivalent to ly in English, but rapidement has an "e" before the suffix that is missing in English’s "rapidly."

Equivalent Word Endings

FrenchEnglishExempleExampleRelated lessons
-ain
-aine
-anaméricain.e
marocain.e
American
Moroccan
Nationalities
-aire-ar
-ary
nucléaire
adversaire
nuclear
adversary
 
-ais
-aise
-ishécossais.e
polonais.e
Scottish
Polish
Languages,
Nationalities
-ance-ance
-ence
tolérance
confiance
tolerance
confidence
-ant-ant
-ent
redondant
indépendant
redundant
independence
-ant-ingamusant
convaincant
amusing
convincing
Present participle
-aque-ackattaque
zodiaque
attack
zodiac
 
-ycalamité
purité
calamity
purity

-ée
-edépelé.espelledPast participle
 -t[UK] spelt 
-el
-elle
-alréel.le
accidentel.le
real
accidental 
-en
-enne
-anagrarien.ne
chrétien.ne
agrarian
Christian
Adjectives
-ence-encedifférence
existence
difference
existence
-ent
-ente
-ent apparent.e
équivalent
apparent
equivalent
-erto + verbchoquerto shockInfinitives
-eur-or
-our
[US]
[UK]
docteur
odeur
cuiseur
doctor
odor/odour
cooker
People
 
 
 -er
-eux
-euse
-ouscurieux.euse
fibreux.euse
curious
fibrous
-gue-ganalogue
dialogue
analog
dialog
-i-ycanari
délai
canary
delay
-i
-ie
-edfini.efinishedPast participle
-ier
-ière
-erémeutier.ière
jardinier.ière
rioter
gardener
People
-if
-ive
-iveexclusif.ive
distinctif.ive
exclusive
distinctive
-ique-ic
-ical
aromatique
logique
aromatic
logic, logical
-irto + verbchoisirto chooseInfinitives
-isation-ization[US]naturalisationnaturalization
organization
  -isation[UK]organisationnaturalisation
organisation
-iser-ize[US]agoniseragonize
categorize
  -ise[UK]catégoriseragonise
categorise
-isme-ism activisme
bilinguisme
activism
bilingualism
-iste-ist
-istic
cycliste
fataliste
cyclist
fatalist, fatalistic  
-ment-lyabruptement
constamment
abruptly
constantly
Adverbs
-oire-oryillusoire
accessoire
illusory
accessory
-ois
-oise
-esechinois.e
viennois.e
Chinese
Viennese
Languages,
Nationalities
-reto + verbconclureto concludeInfinitives
-re-er[US]centrecenter
fiber
 -re[UK]fibrecentre
fibre  
-tion-tionadoption
compétition
adoption
competition
-u
-ue
-edrépondu.erespondedPast participle

Other Spelling Equivalents

FrenchEnglishExempleExampleRelated lessons
^_sancêtre
hôpital
ancestor
hospital
Circumflex
av-adv-aventure
avantage
adventure
advantage
 
é-s-écale
étudier
scale
study
Acute accent
en + -ant -ingen étudiant
en lisant
studying
reading
Gerund

Key

.xAdditional or different letter(s) needed for feminine noun or adjective (inclusive writing)
[US]Applies mainly to American English
[UK]Applies mainly to British English

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English French spelling patterns

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