French-English Spelling Equivalents

Orthographe française-anglaise

Because French and English both have a lot of Latin influence, and because there is also a lot of French influence in English, there are a number of similar spelling patterns in the two languages. Learning these spelling equivalents can help you to:

  1. Recognize French words (cognates)
  2. Spell French words (common spelling equivalents)
But be careful - this chart is just a guideline. As always, there are thousands of exceptions.
In addition, you need to watch out for faux amis.

Equivalent Suffixes
FrenchEnglishExempleExampleRelated lesson
-ain(e)
-en
(ne)
-anaméricain(e)
canadien(ne)
American
Canadian
Adjectives
 
-aire-arymilitaire
extraordinaire
military
extraordinary 
 
-ais(e)
-ois
(e)
-esejaponais(e)
chinois(e)
Japanese
Chinese
Languages
 
-ance
-ence
-encedépendance
violence
dependence
violence  
 
-ant
-ent
-entdépendant
apparent
dependent
apparent  
 
en + -ant -ingen étudiant
en lisant
studying
reading
Present participle
 
-çon-sson 
-shion
-son
leçon
façon
maçon
lesson
fashion
mason 
 
(e)
-i(e)
-u(e)
-ed
-t
[b]
épelé
fini
répondu
spelled/spelt
finished
responded
Past participle
 

-e
-i
-yqualité
gloire
parti
quality
glory
party 
 
-el(le)-alpersonnel
éternel
personal
eternal 
 
-er
-ir
-re
to + verbépeler
finir
défendre
to spell
to finish
to defend
Infinitives
 
-eur-or [a]
-our
[b]
-er
auteur
couleur
employeur
author
color/colour
employer
Professions
 
-eux/euse-ousjoyeux
nerveux
joyous
nervous
 
-if/ive-ivepositif
motif
positive
motive
 
-ique-ic
-ical
musique
logique
music
logical 
 
-isation-ization [a]
-isation [b]
réalisation
autorisation
realization/realisation
authorization/authorisation
 
-iser-ize [a]
-ise [b]
idéaliser
formaliser
idealize/idealise
formalize/formalise
 
-isme-ismjournalisme
réalisme
journalism
realism
 
-iste-ist
-istic
optimiste
matérialiste
optimist/optimistic
materialistic  
 
-ment-lyévidemment
rapidement
evidently
rapidly
Adverbs
 
-oire-orygloire
mémoire
glory
memory
 
-re-er [a]
-re [b]
mètre
théâtre
meter/metre
theater/theatre  
 
-tion-tionration
qualification
ration
qualification
 
Other spelling equivalents
é-s-état
étudier
state
study
French accents  
in-in-
un-
inactif
inconscient
inactive
unconscious
French prefixes  
^_sforêt
hôpital
forest
hospital
 
Key
(x)Indicates the extra letter(s) needed for the feminine form of the French suffix
/xIndicates the different suffix for the feminine noun or adjective
[a]Applies mainly to American English
[b]Applies mainly to British English