French Oral: Important Rules

French Oral: Important Rules

Never pronounce h at start of word (hôpital, hôtel)

Il = [y] (fille, famille, s’habiller) exception = ville, tranquille, mille

‘s’ in between two vowels = [z] (television, choisir)

‘t’ = [s] in –tion, -tieux-, -tien (conversation)

‘qu’ = [k] (question)

‘ch’ = [sh] (architecte)

‘é’ = [ey] (été)

‘è’ = [ay] (mère, matière)

‘ê’ = [ay] bête

A           E           I           O           U

We do not pronounce the last consonant of words (s, t, d, x)

Exceptions; fils, mars, plus (more), août, but, sept, exact, huit, six, dix, lac parc, sac

er = é (aller, métier) exceptions = mer, cher, hiver

We pronounce ‘r’ if preceded by vowels ‘i’ or ‘u’ (finir, dur, soir, pour, sur)

et / ez / er = é

Liaisons; we pronounce the last consonant if it is followed by a word beginning with a vowel/silent ‘h’

Je suis épuisé

Les environs


‘f’ in neuf = [v] in a liaison (neuf ans)

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About the Author

Paul Stenson

Paul lectures in the Irish American University in Dublin’s Merrion Square and has been giving French grinds to both Leaving and Junior Cert students since 2004.

While these notes can be used standalone, it is more beneficial to use them in conjunction with our weekly French grinds, either one-to-one or group. For more information, visit

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