Rules of thumb for remembering accents in spelling

JohnB2Kwiziq community member

Rules of thumb for remembering accents in spelling

When doing the writing tests, I find myself regularly struggling with knowing when to place accents (and regularly second-guessing myself too!).

Are there any rules of thumb to help with this? For example, the 'ô' seems to always appear in words which sound similar in english and one would place an 's': eg hôpital, hôtel, hôte, etc.

I generally have trouble with accented 'e's (ignoring the "obvious" accents, such as when using the passé composé and other conjugation rules) so any advice would be very welcome.

Asked 7 months ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi John,

I am not sure whether there are rules of thumb to help you with this topic and it is something that will get easier in time.

You mention the 'ô' and the circumflex often replaces the letter -s which used to be there and still exists in English.

You might find Laura's page on accents useful -

https://www.lawlessfrench.com/pronunciation/accents/

as well as this page -

https://preply.com/fr/blog/accents-francais/#:~:text=On%20utilise%20l'accent%20grave,%2C%20d%C3%A9c%C3%A8s%2C%20pr%C3%A8s%2C%20progr%C3%A8s%E2%80%A6

 

Bonne continuation !

AnneC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

No expert, but when learning a new word, it’s worth paying attention to how it’s pronounced, which helps when it comes to spell it. For example, the re- of remettre sounds different to the one in réserver. All those pesky semiregular verbs like acheter, geler, jeter are covered in the linked Kwiziq lesson and further links at the bottom of it. The ô’s, â’s, û’s, î’s and ï’s are quite uncommon and it’s maybe worth making a list to learn separately ?

 Conjugate -eter and -eler verbs in the present tense in French (Le Présent) - with "è"

Rules of thumb for remembering accents in spelling

When doing the writing tests, I find myself regularly struggling with knowing when to place accents (and regularly second-guessing myself too!).

Are there any rules of thumb to help with this? For example, the 'ô' seems to always appear in words which sound similar in english and one would place an 's': eg hôpital, hôtel, hôte, etc.

I generally have trouble with accented 'e's (ignoring the "obvious" accents, such as when using the passé composé and other conjugation rules) so any advice would be very welcome.

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