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French Accent Marks - Their Meanings and How They're Used

French accent marks can be the bête noire for students of French, whether they are just beginning orat an advanced level. This article seeks to make sense out of the purpose of the accent marks and help students to know when to use them.
[pic][pic][pic][pic][pic][pic]Introduction to the FiveFrench Accent Marks
Although they can be a pain in the backside to English speakers, accent marks in French are part of the spelling of French words, and are as important as any letter. In this articleyou will learn not only how each accent mark is used, but when it is used, how it can make a difference in the meaning of a word, how it can change a word's pronunciation, and how you may even be ableto use an accent mark to figure out the meaning of a word. French uses the accent grave, accent aigu, accent circonflexe, the cedille, and the trema.
L'Accent Aigu
é The accent aigu is the mostcommon of the French accents. If you know for a fact that there is an accent in a word you are trying to spell, your luck may be with you if you use the accent aigu.
The accent aigu can only be used onthe letter "E". It tells the speaker to pronounce the E as the sound "AY".
For example: épée = ay pay
At the beginning of the word, It can also mean that there used to be an "S" at the beginning.étable = stable
il étudie = he studies
étrangler = to strangle
At the end of a word, it is often is the equivalent of -ed, or the simple past tense
aimé = loved
dansé = danced
mangé = ate
è First and foremost, l'accent grave tells the speaker to pronounce the "E" as "eh", and in the English words "get" and "jet".
élève = ay lev
It is often used to distinguish two words thatare spelled exactly the same, but have different meaning with the inclusion of the accent mark when written above the letters "A" or "U".
à (Preposition - at, in, to) vs. a (Third person singular...