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27 votes
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Ça vs. ca in French

ca is not a word in French. It can only be used as an abbreviation: - of centiare - of circa and these two abbreviations are rarely used. Only ça exists as a word in French. What you might have ...
None's user avatar
  • 62.1k
20 votes
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Why does French have letter é and e?

There are many accents in French, you can't decide to use them or not as it pleases you. It's always here for a reason, and if you don't use it when needed, either the word doesn't mean anything, or ...
Destal's user avatar
  • 3,725
19 votes
Accepted

Tort vs tord to mean wrong

TORT means wrong. It's used with avoir in french, and be in english Parfois, on voudrait avoir tort. Sometimes, you just want to be wrong. TORD means bend (verb TORDRE in conjugated form) Il peut ...
Chris's user avatar
  • 384
18 votes

Do I need to add a "sic" in a transcription of 19th-century French words like "vêtemens", "instans" "puissans" ?

I think a note at the beginning of the transcription explaining it's using older spelling would be better. I don't know how often those words come up, but having "sic" every couple words ...
Teleporting Goat's user avatar
15 votes
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Orthographie et orthographe

En 1539, l'ordonnance de Villers-Cotterêts impose le français1 dans tous les documents officiels, en remplacement du latin que le peuple ne comprenait plus depuis longtemps. Nombreux sont les lettrés ...
jlliagre's user avatar
  • 150k
13 votes
Accepted

What is the plural of "cas" in French? It already ends in S

It's a general rule in French, words that end with s when singular don't change in the plural. So "cases" is "cas" in French. The same rule applies with words that end with z as "gaz" or x as "croix"...
Toto's user avatar
  • 15k
13 votes

Fiche matériel ou fiche matérielle

Both are possible: "fiche matérielle": the word "matériel" is the adjective here, and it agrees. It means then "an actual, material card", as opposed to a virtual one (...
Greg's user avatar
  • 17.2k
13 votes

Do I need to add a "sic" in a transcription of 19th-century French words like "vêtemens", "instans" "puissans" ?

Don't use [sic] in the transcription. It is reserved to signal preserved original document typos, grammatical mistakes or surprising usage while in that case, the spelling was unremarkable. What you ...
jlliagre's user avatar
  • 150k
13 votes
Accepted

Does savoir use a circumflex on the past participle su?

It is not a typo. Before being written su, this past participle was written as sû or sü to remind the older spelling seu (along with sçu, sceu and other). Jean Le Jeune, Le missionnaire de l'oratoire,...
jlliagre's user avatar
  • 150k
12 votes

Why does French have letter é and e?

This is an accent called acute. é is therefore called "e acute". The prononciation is different from e and cannot be dropped in any case unless an alternative spelling exists (like clef and clé). The ...
ApplePie's user avatar
  • 1,362
12 votes
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Why is there no cedilla on the c in porcelaine ?

C can be pronounced [k] or [s]. C is pronounced [k] before a, o, u, or any consonant (except h). Call this the "hard" C. calembour cour cul croquer C is pronounced [s] before e, i, y. Call this ...
Luke Sawczak's user avatar
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12 votes
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Is using "oe" in place of "œ" perceived as a mistake in writing?

We learned how to write these words at school so when handwriting, I believe ligatures are still common. The main issue is that nowadays we mostly use keyboards to write text but unfortunately the ...
jlliagre's user avatar
  • 150k
11 votes

Quel est le mot avec le plus de lettres muettes ?

Il y a huent qui se prononce u, composé donc de 80% de lettres muettes. Je pense que pour trouver le mot avec le plus de lettres muettes, mettre un verbe à la 3e personne du pluriel est une bonne ...
Flying_whale's user avatar
  • 1,144
10 votes

"échantillon" vs "échatillon"

échatillon is clearly a typo, only échantillon is valid.
vc 74's user avatar
  • 1,772
10 votes
Accepted

Spelling a word with a double letter in spoken French

Personnellement, j'ai toujours dit et entendu dans mon entourage (je suis Parisien) : V, I, deux L, E
Toto's user avatar
  • 15k
9 votes
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« hors-service » ou « hors service »

Selon le dictionnaire de l'Académie française, l’orthographe correcte est sans le trait d'union : Hors sert à former un certain nombre de locutions dans lesquelles il signifie En dehors de (au ...
am304's user avatar
  • 668
9 votes

Why do so many people put an accent on "râté"?

Likely because there are more similar words using a circumflex: bâté gâté hâté pâté tâté than not: daté maté The eye, more accustomed to see a circumflex accent in four-letter words ending in &...
jlliagre's user avatar
  • 150k
8 votes

Orthographe du prénom « George »

Le postulat exprimé dans la question est inexact. La graphie Georges est bien antérieure à 1850 et il n'y a pas eu de changement « magique » ou brutal de l'orthographe du nom Georges. Une recherche ...
jlliagre's user avatar
  • 150k
8 votes
Accepted

Prefixe pluri- suivi d’un radical commençant par la lettre i

Il est clair que votre première proposition, « plurindividuel », qui se lirait \plyʁɛ̃dividɥɛl\ et non \plyʁiɛ̃dividɥɛl\, est incorrecte. Par ailleurs, le Dictionnaire de l'Académie française et l'...
Blackhole's user avatar
  • 711
8 votes

Conjugaison correcte de « êtes vous allé ? »

Premier cas : Où êtes-vous allés ? Je m'adresse à plusieurs personnes Où êtes-vous allé ? Je m'adresse à un homme que je vouvoie Où êtes-vous allées ? Je m'adresse à plusieurs femmes Où êtes-vous ...
Loïc Di Benedetto's user avatar
8 votes
Accepted

Why is there a circumflex in the 3rd sg. of connaître?

Short explanation: Naître used to be spelled naistre, and the third-person singular, naist. But the forms spelled nais retain an "s" in the spelling, so they don't get a circumflex. Longer ...
sumelic's user avatar
  • 2,903
8 votes

Hôpital / hospitalier : why the s in the latter?

As you can see from the "disappearance of s" section in Circumflex in French, the ^ indicates (in this case) that the word hôpital used to have a "silent" S. It indeed comes from ...
radouxju's user avatar
  • 5,605
8 votes
Accepted

"Perspective" ou "Perspectif"?

The rule is for French adjectives that end with -if at the masculine to end with -ive at the feminine, e.g.. actif / active affirmatif / affirmative aggressif / aggressive décisif / décisive ... ...
jlliagre's user avatar
  • 150k
8 votes
Accepted

Soyez les premiers à être "informé" ou "informés" ?

Informés bien sûr ! La règle est de toujours faire l'accord avec le sujet en genre et en nombre quand l'auxiliaire est le verbe être et le verbe n'est pas pronominal.
jlliagre's user avatar
  • 150k
8 votes
Accepted

L'origine du c cédille

Je suis loin d'être spécialiste, mais je pense que les liens ci-dessous (questions sur FSE) peuvent donner des indications et constituent un bon point de départ (voir aussi les références mentionnées ...
Dimitris's user avatar
  • 28.5k
8 votes
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Écrit-on l'« espace » ou l' « espace » ?

Il n'y a jamais d'espace avant ou après une apostrophe, quel que soit ce qui se trouve après l'apostrophe. Il faut une espace après les guillemets ouvrants et avant les guillemets fermants. Donc l'« ...
None's user avatar
  • 62.1k
8 votes
Accepted

Orthographe "zamicalement" ?

Il s'agit d'un velours, une liaison incorrecte que devait faire mamselle Manon ou son amant. On trouve de très nombreux autres cuirs et velours dans ce poème : Ce jeune homme-ci, t'un beau dimanche, ...
jlliagre's user avatar
  • 150k
7 votes

Why is there no cedilla on the c in porcelaine ?

I am guessing it is not needed because the following e induces a [se] pronunciation naturally. Same for i: ci-devant is fine without cédille. This is not the case with a, o, u, which result in a [ka, ...
Frank's user avatar
  • 9,605

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