The French Pronunciation of E

Big "E"
Orin Zebest/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

The French letter E can be pronounced several different ways — such as the schwa sound, a long A sound, and short E sounds. Below are examples of the different sounds and sound files to hear the way they're spoken.

Examples of the Various E Sounds

  • Like the E in angel (like a schwa) — listen. This sound is often heard in single syllable words like le, me, etc.
  • Like the vowel sound in "weigh" except without the y sound at the end — listen. This sound occurs in the following:
    E with an acute accent: été
    E in an open syllable (i.e., a syllable that ends in a vowel sound): trajet
    the verb endings -er and -ez: manger, veuillez.
  • Like the E in bed — listen. This sound is found in the following:
    E with a grave accent: exprès
    E with a circumflex: tête
    E followed by a double consonant: belle
    E in a closed syllable (a syllable that ends in a consonant sound): sept
  • An unaccented E at the end of a word is called an E muet and may or may not be pronounced.

French Words With E

Click on the links below to hear the words pronounced in French: