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French Elision

An elision is the dropping of the last letter of a word, replacing it with an apostrophe, and attaching it to the word that follows, which begins with a vowel or mute h. This is generally in order to facilitate pronunciation.

In French, all but two elisions occur with the letter e at the end of short words (such as articles and prepositions) when the next word starts with a vowel or mute h. The two exceptions are la and si.

de --> d'

Je viens de France et d'Australie. - I come from France and Australia.

Il n'y a pas d'hôpital dans cette ville. - There is no hospital in this town.

je --> j'

Je parle et j'écoute. - I speak and I listen.

J'habite à Paris. - I live in Paris.

le, la --> l'

Je le connais et je l'admire. - I know him and I admire him.

L'hôtel n'est pas cher. - The hotel isn't expensive.

Je la regarde et l'écoute. - I'm watching her and listening to her.

me, te, se --> m', t', s'

Je me lève et je m'habille. - I get up and I get dressed.

Il te regarde et il t'écoute. - He's watching you and he's listening to you.

Ils se lavent mais ne s'essuient pas. - They wash but don't dry themselves.

que --> qu'

La fille que j'aime et qu'il aime est sympa. - The girl I love and he loves is nice.

Je veux qu'elle commence. - I want her to begin.

si --> s' only in front of il and ils

Je ne sortirai pas s'il pleut. - I won't go out if it's raining.

Si elles veulent venir et s'ils acceptent, alors c'est bon. - If they want to come and if they accept, then it's good.

See also: Liaison