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French accents – Today’s French

French Accents – Today’s French

Les élèves d’Anne en Bretagne

The French alphabet has 26 letters, just like in English.

However, some letters have accents.

Accents in French serve two main purposes:

  1. to modify the sound of a word
    • dés = dice / dès = as soon as
    • lés = widths of fabric/wallpaper / lès = next to
  2. to distinguish the meaning of two words that would otherwise be spelled the same way
    • la = the / là = there
    • ou = or / où = where

Be careful, an accent in writing doesn’t mean a stress in speaking.

Most common accents

1. Accent aigu (acute)

  • Looks like: ´
  • Goes over the E –> é
  • Example: été – summer

2. Accent grave (grave)

  • Looks like: `
  • Goes over the A, E and U –> à è ù
  • Example: là – here

3. Accent circonflexe (circumflex)

  • Looks like: ˆ
  • Goes over the A, E, I, O, U –> â ê î ô û
  • Example: gâteau – cake

There are more accents. See the premium lesson here here.

Practice

Fill in the blanks with one of the two words provided.

_______ (La, Là) fête était _______ (a, à) Loguivy-_______(les, lès)-Lannion, _______ (ou, où) les grands-parents avaient la maison familiale. _______ (Les, Lès) fêtes se faisaient toujours _______ (la, là). La _______ (tache, tâche) de France était de mettre la table. Lorsqu’elle _______ (a, à) sorti la nappe _______ (du, dû) buffet, elle s’est aperçue qu’il y avait une _______ (tache, tâche). Elle aurait _______ (du, dû) vérifier avant _______ (ou, où) en choisir une autre.

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