I'm developing a word search game that accepts words in various languages. The evergreen question for each language is the form of accepted words - are inflected forms accepted (like, go/went/gone in English) or only the lemmas (go).

In languages where there can be a lot of different forms for a word, it is troublesome to support all; while in other languages, where there is only one or two inflected forms it might be fine to accept all.

How is it for French - those that speak the language fluently, would it be most natural to accept all forms of a word, or just the dictionary form?

  • 3
    You might find that accepting all forms might be a very troublesome in French since verb (just to take one example) can have up to six different forms for each tense and there are lots of tenses...
    – None
    Nov 30 '19 at 19:09
  • In English, would broken be acceptable because it's an adjective, or would it be unacceptable because it's an inflected form of the verb break? You're going to run into the same trouble with French forms like brisé. Nov 30 '19 at 23:16
  • If you take every différentes tenses of one verb, you can have more than 30 different forms (here, you can read for "manger"), but if you want to take care about tense (and not the subject), you just have 5 or 6 forms
    – damadam
    Dec 5 '19 at 13:55
  • @LaureSO-Écoute-nous I think you can find dictionaries with every form of every word. Any scrabble-like app uses one. Dec 6 '19 at 13:24

To answer that you might want to see how it's done in other word games.

In Scrabble, any form of any word is accepted, as long as there is no apostrophe or dash ("arc-en-ciel" and "aujourd'hui", while counted as words in dictionaries, are not valid. Probably because there's no punctuation piece so you'd have to write "arcenciel" or "aujourdhui").

Because of this, you can add to a verb to make multiple conjugations, as long as they're all valid separately.


In crossword puzzles, any form of any word is also generally accepted. Dashes and apostrophes are sometimes signaled with dotted line on the side of the square between two letters.

Accents are ignored in both games. An E piece in Scrabble can be used for e, é, è, ê, ë, and the e in œ. "œuvre" is written OEUVRE in word games in French. This works even after the letters are placed, so MANGÉ can cross with ÊTRE.

Depending on your game it might differ, but I'd recommend going with Scrabble rules unless your game is so different they don't apply. French speakers will be familiar with it, and you'll probably able to find the resources you need online.

Here's one you could use. If you need a Scrabble-like list you'll need to remove words with a dash, remove diacritics and replace œ with oe.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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