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The vowel is not elided before :-huit, onze, oui: as, le huit, le huitième, le onze, le oui.

Observation. For the peculiar use of the apostrophe in grand'mère, grand'salle, etc., see § 17 (h), Obs.

(5) The cedilla, la cédille (,) placed under c before a, o, u, indicates that ç is pronounced like ss, and not like k: as, il perça, le garçon, reçu.

(Before e, i, the c needs no cedilla, being then always sounded like s). (6) The diæresis, le trèma (") indicates that the vowel over which it stands is pronounced separately from the vowel before it: as,

naïf, Noël, heroïsme, ambiguë.

Observation.-In -gue, the diæresis indicates that u is pronounced, but not ë; in gue, without diæresis, both u and e are mute: as, aiguë, j'arguë (u sounded), but longue, je distingue (ue mute).

(7) The hyphen, le trait d'union or tiret (-), marks the grammatical connection of two or more words :

(a) In Compound Nouns, Adjectives, Adverbs, etc.: as,

arc-en-ciel; Philippe-Auguste; aigre-doux; non-seulement.

(b) Before Pronouns and Particles used enclitically: as,

dis-moi, lui-même, celui-ci.

(c) In Compound numerals from 17 to 99 inclusive: as,
dix-sept, quatre-vingt-dix-neuf, etc.

THE SOUNDS.-The same letter may represent different sounds or different shades of one sound, only partly indicated by accents; and conversely, the same sound may be represented by different letters or combinations of letters. (a) Simple Vowel Sounds :

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noble, orage; Paul, album; or, fort, bord, sors; centaure.

i, y,

o fermé,

sot, joli, votre ;

o ouvert,


sur, sucre, culte ;

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sûr(e), ruse, nue; eûmes.

bleue; œufs (f silent in plur.)

meurent, leur; cœur.

goût, joue, Louvre.

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1 The term e muet is very misleading; it has therefore been limited to the cases in which e is really mute.


(c) Diphthongs: i.e. combinations of two vowel sounds :

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(e) Liquid Sounds :

-il (final) :-

-ill- (medial)


-gn. (medial) :—

roi, croire, voile.

lui, nuit, huître.

Dieu, yeux.

pays, voyelle, fuyons.

aïeul, Bayard.

viande, patience;

Européen; chien, je tiens; citoyen.

nation; étions.

loin; coin.

juin; baragouin.

grésil, travail, soleil, œil, fenouil.

brillant, travaillons, corbeille, feuille, chatouiller. montagnard, règne, vigne, compagnon, répugnance.

N.B. The conventional sign between two words denotes that in French pronunciation the final consonant of the first word must be drawn over to next word beginning with a vowel or silent h. In this case s is sounded=z; d=t; f=v; and g = k : as,

cet ami, pron. = cè-tami;

grand homme


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gran-tome; neuf ans = neu-van; etc.

For special Rules on liaison, see Appendix, § 93.

Division of Words into Syllables.—Contrary to English usage, the division into syllables is not regulated by etymology; a word is divided, either

(a) after a consonant and before a vowel; or (b) between two consonants succeeding each other in the middle of a word [except bl, cl, gl. pl; br, cr, dr, fr, gr, pr, tr, vr, th, and nasal gn, which are inseparable]; as,

ré-vo-lu-tion; té-mé-ri-té; voul-oir; pour-rai; vien-ne.
pro-tec-teur; fer-mé; vou-drai; a-gneau.

In compound words, however, considerations of etymology assert themdés-agré-able.


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4 INTRODUCTORY.-There are in French


two Genders only-Masculine and Feminine.

As there is no Neuter

Gender, all French Nouns must be either Masculine or Feminine in grammatical Gender, although the things they denote may have no sex (for Rules, see § 18);

two Numbers—the Singular and Plural; the sign of the Plural is generally s, sometimes x, added to the Noun.-See Introduction.

French Nouns have no Case-inflections; the relations conveyed by case-inflections are, as in English, expressed by Prepositions, i.e.

de, of, from, answering to the Latin Genitive or Ablative.

à, to, at, answering to the Latin Dative or Ablative (Locative).

A Noun may be limited or qualified in its signification by—

(1) the Definite Article, (2) the Indefinite Article, (3) the Partitive Article, (4) by an Adverb of quantity, (5) by a Possessive Adjective, (6) by a Demonstrative Adjective, (7) by another Noun, (8) by an Adjective of quality, either in the Positive, or (9) in the Comparative or Superlative degree, (10) by a Numeral, or an Indefinite Pron.-Adjective.

The Definite Article is-

for the Singular—

le before a masc. Noun beginning with a consonant :—le lion,
la before a fem. Noun beginning with a consonant :— la vache,
before a masc. or fem. Noun beginning with (l'ami (m.),
a vowel or silent h:-

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for the Plural

the lion.

the cow. the friend.

P'heure (f.), the hour.

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les before all Nouns (m. and f.), whether they (m., les lions, les amis. begin with a vowel or a consonant :- f., les vaches, les heures.

When le, les (but not la, l') are immediately preceded by de or à, they coalesce with these prepositions as follows (see Introduction) :

de le into du :— du lion, of the lion.

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de les into des:-des lions, des vaches, des amis, of the lions, cows, etc. à les into aux:-aux lions, aux vaches, aux amis, to the lions, cows, etc.



Nom. =


Nominative, i.e. Subject or Direct Predicate.

Acc. = Accusative Case, i.e. Direct Object.

Gen. Genitive Case, i.e. Possessive Case.





Ablative Case, introduced here for the sake of showing how (in analogy with Latin) the ablative relation may be expressed.] Dative Case, i.e. Indirect (Remoter) Object.

N.B.-Latin words and quotations are in square brackets [ ].

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I praise the girl.

The book of the girl (the girl's book).

I speak of the girl.]

I speak to the girl.

(c) Masculine or Feminine Noun, beginning with a vowel or silent h :—

Acc. Je loue

L'élève écoute.


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The pupil listens (is listening).
I praise the pupil.

The book of the pupil (the
pupil's book).

I speak of the pupil.]
I speak to the pupil.

Masc. or Fem. Noun, beginning either with a consonant or a vowel :-
Les maîtres et les élèves The masters and the pupils are

Acc. Je loue les maîtres et les élèves.
Gen. Les livres des maîtres et des élèves.

[Abl. Je parle des maîtres et des élèves.
Dat. Je parle aux maîtres et aux élèves.


(a) Le sel est le symbole de la sagesse. (a) La vie est brève.

(a) L'oisiveté est la mère du vice.

(b) Le fer, l'or, et la platine sont précieux. (b) L'homme est mortel.

(b) Les hommes sont mortels.

I praise the masters and the pupils.
The books of the masters and pupils

(the masters' and pupils' books).
I speak of the masters and the pupils.]
I speak to the masters and the pupils.

Salt is the symbol of wisdom.
Life is short.

Idleness is the mother of vice.

Iron, gold, and platina are precious.
Man is mortal.

Men are mortal.


m. Un frère est_un_ami.

A brother is a friend.


Une sœur est une amie.

A sister is a friend.

Un used adjectively has no plural, although Nouns used indefinitely may be used in the plural (see § 8).

The cases are formed with the same prepositions as the Def. Art., but without any contractions: as,

Nom. Un frère et une sœur.

Acc. J'ai un frère et une sœur.

Gen. L'amour d'un frère et d'une


A brother and a sister.

I have a brother and a sister.

The love of a brother and of a sister.

[Abl. Il parle d'un frère et d'une He speaks of a brother and of a


Dat. Je parle à un frère et à une



I speak to a brother and to a sister.


The Partitive Article, which denotes that only a part or fraction of a whole is taken, is the same as the Genitive (Possessive) case of the Definite Article (see § 6):


Donne-moi Give me m. du fruit, some (any) fruit. de l'argent, some (any) money. f. de la toile, some (any) cloth.

de l'eau, some (any) water.


Donnez-moi Give me

des fruits, some (any) fruits.
des abricots, some (any) apricots.
des toiles, some (any) cloths.
des oranges, some (any) oranges.

Caution. The partitive adjectives some, any, are often omitted in English; but in French the Part. Art. is never omitted: as, Here is bread, Voici du pain ;

I have money, J'ai de l'argent.

Observation 1.-The plural form of the Part. Art. also does duty for the plural of the Indefinite Art. (see § 7): as,



un ami. I have a friend.


J'ai des amis. I have friends.

Tu as une cousine. Thou hast a cousin. Tu as des cousines. Thou hast cousins.

Observation 2.—When the Noun used partitively is preceded by a qualifying Adjective, de alone, without the Def. Art., is used: compare

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with J'ai de bon lait, de bonne eau, et de beaux raisins.

Observation 3.-The Adjective sometimes forms with the following Noun a compound Substantive, in which case the general rule holds good:


Elle boit du petit-lait.

She drinks whey.

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