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. Also, you need to watch out for faux amis.

Equivalent Suffixes

French English Exemple Example Related lesson
-ain(e)
-en(ne)
-an américain(e)
canadien(ne)
American
Canadian
Adjectives
-aire -ary militaire
extraordinaire
military
extraordinary
-ais(e)
-ois(e)
-ese japonais(e)
chinois(e)
Japanese
Chinese
Languages
-ance
-ence
-ence dépendance
violence
dependence
violence
-ant
-ent
-ent dépendant
apparent
dependent
apparent
en + -ant -ing en 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
-y qualité
gloire
parti
quality
glory
party
-el(le) -al personnel
éternel
personal
eternal
-er
-ir
-re
to + verb épeler
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 -ous joyeux
nerveux
joyous
nervous
-if/ive -ive positif
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 -ism journalisme
réalisme
journalism
realism
-iste -ist
-istic
optimiste
matérialiste
optimist/optimistic
materialistic
-ment -ly évidemment
rapidement
evidently
rapidly
Adverbs
-oire -ory gloire
mémoire
glory
memory
-re -er [a]
-re [b]
mètre
théâtre
meter/metre
theater/theatre
-tion -tion ration
qualification
ration
qualification

Other spelling equivalents

é- s- état
étudier
state
study
French accents
in- in-
un-
inactif
inconscient
inactive
unconscious
French prefixes
^ _s forêt
hôpital
forest
hospital


Key

(x) Indicates the extra letter(s) needed for the feminine form of the French suffix
/x Indicates the different suffix for the feminine noun or adjective
[a] Applies mainly to American English
[b] Applies mainly to British English