E with accent (É, È, Ê, Ë) - Purpose and pronunciation
E with accent
On top of the vowels a, i,
o, u, the French accents may only have a grammatical
However, when added to the letter e, the accents always alter the pronunciation.
Here’s all you need to know to pronounce the letter e with accent like a native!
Table of content
e with acute accent – é
L’accent aigu (acute accent) can only be added to the vowel e. It has an impact on the
é is pronounced as in the English word (may), but without pronouncing the second part of the vowel sound, associated to the letter y. Here is an example:
e with grave accent – è
You may also find l’accent grave (grave accent) on the vowel e.
You should pronounce the letter è as in the English word (a bed):
e with circumflex – ê
When added to the letter e, l’accent circonflexe (circumflex) also changes the pronunciation.
e with circumflex (ê) will be pronounced the same as è. It is the same sound as in the English word (a bed). For example:
e with diaeresis – ë
The purpose of the tréma (diaeresis) is to show that two vowels must be pronounced separately.
In French, we use many combined letters. These are clusters of letters which form a unique sound.
However, when we want to pronounce each vowel separately, we add a diaeresis.
In other words, the diaresis is used to “break” the letter combinations.
Here is the example of two words (without and with diaeresis) for you to hear the (slight) difference:
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Work on your French pronunciation with a collection of posts with examples and audio recordings.