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

French English Exemple Example Related lessons
-ain
-aine
-an américain.e
marocain.e
American
Moroccan
Nationalities
-aire -ar
-ary
nucléaire
adversaire
nuclear
adversary
 
-ais
-aise
-ish écossais.e
polonais.e
Scottish
Polish
Languages,
Nationalities
-ance -ance
-ence
tolérance
confiance
tolerance
confidence
-ant -ant
-ent
redondant
indépendant
redundant
independence
-ant -ing amusant
convaincant
amusing
convincing
Present participle
-aque -ack attaque
zodiaque
attack
zodiac
 
-y calamité
purité
calamity
purity

-ée
-ed épelé.e spelled Past participle
  -t [UK]   spelt  
-el
-elle
-al réel.le
accidentel.le
real
accidental 
-en
-enne
-an agrarien.ne
chrétien.ne
agrarian
Christian
Adjectives
-ence -ence différence
existence
difference
existence
-ent
-ente
-ent apparent.e
équivalent
apparent
equivalent
-er to + verb choquer to shock Infinitives
-eur -or
-our
[US]
[UK]
docteur
odeur
cuiseur
doctor
odor/odour
cooker
People
 
 
  -er
-eux
-euse
-ous curieux.euse
fibreux.euse
curious
fibrous
-gue -g analogue
dialogue
analog
dialog
-i -y canari
délai
canary
delay
-i
-ie
-ed fini.e finished Past participle
-ier
-ière
-er émeutier.ière
jardinier.ière
rioter
gardener
People
-if
-ive
-ive exclusif.ive
distinctif.ive
exclusive
distinctive
-ique -ic
-ical
aromatique
logique
aromatic
logic, logical
-ir to + verb choisir to choose Infinitives
-isation -ization [US] naturalisation naturalization
organization
  -isation [UK] organisation naturalisation
organisation
-iser -ize [US] agoniser agonize
categorize
  -ise [UK] catégoriser agonise
categorise
-isme -ism activisme
bilinguisme
activism
bilingualism
-iste -ist
-istic
cycliste
fataliste
cyclist
fatalist, fatalistic  
-ment -ly abruptement
constamment
abruptly
constantly
Adverbs
-oire -ory illusoire
accessoire
illusory
accessory
-ois
-oise
-ese chinois.e
viennois.e
Chinese
Viennese
Languages,
Nationalities
-re to + verb conclure to conclude Infinitives
-re -er [US] centre center
fiber
  -re [UK] fibre centre
fibre  
-tion -tion adoption
compétition
adoption
competition
-u
-ue
-ed répondu.e responded Past participle

Other Spelling Equivalents

French English Exemple Example Related lessons
^ _s ancêtre
hôpital
ancestor
hospital
Circumflex
av- adv- aventure
avantage
adventure
advantage
 
é- s- écale
étudier
scale
study
Acute accent
en + -ant  -ing en étudiant
en lisant
studying
reading
Gerund

Key

.x Additional 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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