According to Wiktionary most -er verbs like rechercher has three singular future forms that are pronounced exactly the same.

rechercherai rechercheras recherchera

It's /ʁə.ʃɛʁ.ʃə.ʁe/. Cool. Also singular conditionals seem to be pronounced very similar, /ʁə.ʃɛʁ.ʃə.ʁɛ/.

To my ears, adjusted to my native language, these sound exactly the same. I know that English differentiate between them, but it never posed a problem when I was speaking in English.

On the other hand, in French it seems, that the difference could be critical (I'll feed my dog vs. I would feed my dog). Do you have any tips how to pronounce these two forms in a way that would be pretty straightforward to your average French man, if I meant future or conditional tense?


2 Answers 2


On the other hand, in French it seems, that the difference could be critical.

Do not overestimate this criticality.

I have pronounced rechercherai and rechercherais exactly the same way for my whole life and do not plan to change. Many people don't even noticed it because they are doing the same and none of the remaining ones found it critical enough to point it out because they understood which one to choose from the context.


This is not exact, just two of these forms are pronounced alike "rechercheras" and "recherchera".

Futur simple : -erai, -eras, -era, -erons, -erez, -eront

Here is a source that provides the sound for the verbs in the first group and the other groups: prononciation des terminaisons au futur; this is the pronunciation in the south of France.

In most of France both the "conditionnel" forms "rechercherais" (-rait) and the "futur" forms "rechercherai" have the same pronunciation, which is just as that of è (/ɛ/) (réf.). You might prefer this pronunciation but you should know that once you've trained yourself to use one of them you can't change easily; a rather long period of reeducation is necessary (reeducating yourself).

You can notice that there is a difference in Quebec but it does not exist in France. This difference is also scrupulously respected in the French West Indies (which has prompted some Frenchman to say "Oh! Fortunate people !" in reference to the population of this land).

It might be a bit confusing at first for a beginning student but with a little experience there should never be a problem in making out the difference between "futur" and "conditionnel": the context usually makes clear which one is used.

The difference between /e/ and /ɛ/ should become clear if you listen carefully to the audio references.

Here is "/ɛ/", and here is "/e/".

In this audio file you'll find the difference between "/ɛ/" and "/e/".

A wide choice of audio examples is found in this set of audio files.

Here is a table of the vowels that you should be able to find yourself; I am putting down the link in case you shouldn't find it: voyelles.

  • I'm from the Loire valley and pronunciation of future and conditional is generally different for people of higher education levels. People who spent less time in school pronounce both conjugaison the same. Nov 27, 2020 at 15:44
  • @JacquesGaudin > Sometimes it can also be related to the fact these people would actually write "ais" for both tenses...
    – Laurent S.
    Nov 27, 2020 at 16:09
  • @LaurentS. That's true, to me pronouncing the future differently carries a message of "by the way there is no s there and I know it". Nov 27, 2020 at 17:26

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