Final Consonants

In French, final consonants are generally silent. CAREFUL. Why did I just write that? Final consonants are silent except for C, R, F,  and L….(mnemonic to remember: CaReFuL).

Don’t believe me? Let’s review some French words that we use in English:

ballet, bouquet, buffet, Chevrolet, corps, coup, crochet, debris, debut, depot, filet, richochet, chic, amateur, chauffeur, l’appel, chef, sec, l’amour, bref, fier, l’oeuf, idéal, sur, l’hôtel.

This simple, careful understanding will save you a lot of French mispronunciations.

When you see words that end in “s”, like:

autrefois, le dos, exquis, le mois, mais, les propos, surpris, puis and le pays…will you say the “s”? No.

Words that end in “t”…l’achat, le chat, parfait, le projet, intéressant, Détroit, le cabaret, l’avocat, and le dépot…you will remember the pneumonic and you will not say the “t”.

But there are exceptions, the first being the most obvious….when a word ends in “ier” or “er”, like most verbs. Here the “r” is silent.

The other exceptions are:

“c” usually silent in the “nc” ending, examples: le banc, le flanc, le tronc

“ct” and “pt” often silent, examples: exact, suspect, l’apect, prompt, abrupt, le script

Directions: est, ouest, sud are silent, but not nord is not silent.

french pronunciation cheat sheet8


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