How would I identify if another person is saying / How should I pronounce ils ont or ils sont?

For example:

Ils sont des rois. (They are the kings)

Ils ont des rois. (They have the kings)

2 Answers 2


Ils sont des rois

is pronounced with an S like in snakes, but

Ils ont des rois

is pronounced like a Z, like in maze. When doing the link between two words in french, if the last letter is an "s", the sound will always be "z".

  • 2
    Your last sentence is not accurate enough and could then be misleading. It is only valid when the starting letter of the following word is a vowel and even then there's quite a lot of examples where you don't use the "z" sound. For example "Tu parles aux animaux". As a matter of fact it is very hard to find a rule with no exception in French so using "always" when stating a rule is hard :-)
    – Laurent S.
    Apr 29, 2019 at 16:56
  • 1
    Laurent S. That's why I said "when doing the link between two words". In "Tu parles aux", there's no link.
    – Lyzvaleska
    Apr 29, 2019 at 17:02
  • Wouldn't the word os be an exception?
    – b a
    Jun 5, 2019 at 9:29

First things first,

Ils sont des rois

This is not a very correct way of putting it. You should prefer:

Ce sont des rois

Now, you do have a point. How could you differentiate:

Ils sont pris au piège (they are trapped)

Ils ont pris au piège des lapins (they trapped some rabbits)

As said by Lyzvaleska, the first indice is the z sound when pronouncing: Il'z ont. Ils will always connect to the following vowel if there is one.

But another tips is the complement d'object direct (les lapins) which is required when using Ils ont and absent when using Ils sont.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.