Languages › French How to Conjugate French Spelling-Change Verbs They are regular '-er' verbs with slight spelling changes Share Flipboard Email Print French Grammar Pronunciation & Conversation Vocabulary Resources For Teachers By ThoughtCo Updated September 19, 2017 There are two groups of otherwise regular -er verbs that have spelling changes in certain conjugations due to hard and soft consonants and vowels. That is, they are conjugated like regular -er verbs, except for slight spelling variations in certain conjugations in order to maintain soft consonant sounds throughout. They are known as are spelling-change verbs. The Consequences of Orthography These orthographic changes occur because of how hard and soft letters affect pronunciation. The letters a, o, and u are sometimes called hard vowels while e and i are soft vowels. Certain consonants (c, g, s) change pronunciation according to which vowel follows them. Place the soft vowels e or i after them, and they have a soft sound; place the sometimes hard vowels a, o and u after these consonants and you could get a hard-sounding consonant. The spelling-change verbs follow these rules of orthography. Thus, wherever the g in -ger verbs is followed by a hard vowel like o, it changes to ge to keep the g soft, as in gel. In -cer verbs, wherever the c is followed by a hard vowel, it changes to ç to keep the c soft, as in cell. The Actual Changes: '-cer' Verbs Generally, for -cer verbs, the c > ç spelling change is found only in the imperative and the nous conjugation of the present tense: lançons. It is also needed in the present participle, lançant, but not the past participle, lancé. 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 remplace > to replace renoncer > to renounce The Actual Changes: '-ger' Verbs For -ger verbs, the g > ge spelling change is likewise found only in the imperative and the present tense nous conjugation: mangeons. It is needed in the present participle, mangeant, but not the past participle, mangé. All verbs that end in -ger undergo this spelling change, including: arranger > to arrange bouger > to move changer > to change corriger > to correct décourager > to discourage déménager > to move déranger > to disturb diriger > to direct encourager > to encourage engager > to bind exiger > to demand juger > to judge loger > to lodge manger > to eat mélanger > to mix nager > to swim obliger > to oblige partager > to share rédiger > to write voyager > to travel For both types of spelling-change verbs, these slight changes also occur in the following tenses and moods: Imperfect - singular conjugations plus the third person pluralPassé simple - all conjugations except the third person pluralImperfect subjunctive - all conjugations For both, there is no spelling change in the conditional, future, or subjunctive. See the Full Conjugations to Understand Check out the full conjugations of spelling-change -ger verbs and -cer verbs for a global picture of how these small changes affect spelling. One caveat: Do not confuse spelling-change verbs with stem-changing verbs. They are completely different, as their names indicate.