How Is 'EU' Pronounced in French?

Think of the 'U' as In "Full"

The letter combination 'EU' appears often in the French language, but do you know how to pronounce it? Depending on how it's used, the 'EU' takes on the sound of an English 'U.' This French lesson will explain how and when it's used and give you some example vocabulary words to use as practice.

How to Pronounce the French 'EU'

The French letter combination 'EU' can be pronounced in two different ways and they are quite similar to one another.

  1. When 'EU' is an open syllable -- the vowel is the last sound in the syllable -- it sounds more or less like the 'U' in the English word "full": listen.
  2. When in a closed syllable, 'EU' is pronounced with a slightly more open mouth: listen.

There is an exception to the 'EU' pronunciation rules. When used as the past participle of avoir, eu is pronounced like the French ' U.'

French Words With 'EU'

It's time to practice your 'EU' pronunciation with a few words. You can click on each word to hear the proper pronunciation, but give it a try on your own first.

Did you notice how neuf used the closed syllable 'EU' while feu and peu use the open syllable sound? You can almost expect to say "full" and "pull" with those two words.

Don't Get 'EU' Confused With These

If you see the letter combination of 'EUIL,' the sound will be different. This is more of an 'OO' sound as in "good" followed by a 'Y.' Here it is in use: une feuille (leaf).

The vowel combination of 'AU' has a closed 'O' sound, as does the combination 'EAU.'  If you're reading fast, it can be very easy to mistake either for 'EU.'

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Lawless, Laura K. "How Is 'EU' Pronounced in French?" ThoughtCo, Jul. 27, 2017, thoughtco.com/french-pronunciation-of-eu-1369558. Lawless, Laura K. (2017, July 27). How Is 'EU' Pronounced in French? Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/french-pronunciation-of-eu-1369558 Lawless, Laura K. "How Is 'EU' Pronounced in French?" ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/french-pronunciation-of-eu-1369558 (accessed November 23, 2017).