-CER Verbs - French Spelling Change Verbs

Verbes qui changent d'orthographe

Erasing a chalkboard
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Verbs that end in -cer, like lancer, have a spelling change before endings that begin with the hard vowels a or o. Because c followed by a or o would make a hard c sound (like in cold), the c has to change to ç (c with a cedilla) to keep the c soft (as in cell).

In the present tense and the imperative, this c > ç spelling change is found only in the nous conjugation: lançons. It is needed in the present participle, lançant, but not the past participle, lancé.

And it occurs in the following tenses/moods:

There is no spelling change in the conditional, future, or subjunctive.

The table below summarizes just the spelling change conjugations, or you can see lancer conjugated in all tenses.

All verbs that end in -cer undergo this spelling change, including

   annoncer   to announce
   avancer   to advance
   commencer   to begin
   dénoncer   to denounce
   divorcer   to divorce
   effacer   to erase
   lancer   to throw
   menacer   to threaten
   placer   to put
   prononcer   to pronounce
   remplacer   to replace
   renoncer   to renounce

  Present Imperfect Passé simple Imperfect subjunctive Participles
je lance lançais lançai lançasse
tu lances lançais lanças lançasses    Present
il lance lançait lança lançât    lançant
nous lançons lancions lançâmes lançassions
vous lancez lanciez lançâtes lançassiez    Past
ils lancent lançaient lancèrent lançassent    lancé