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L’apostrophe

September 25, 2012

The apostrophe in French is used to replace a final vowel which is not pronounced because the next word also start with a vowel or silent “h”. The removing of a final silent vowel is called the ELISION. 

In written French, elision takes place only with the following words : ce, je, neme, te, se, le, la, de, que, and si (only with “il” and “ils”).

Ce sont mes amis. (They are my friends.)
C’est mon ami. (He is my friend.)

Je suis indien. (I am Indian.)
J’habite à Kanpur. (I live in Kanpur.)

Je ne parle pas français. (I don’t speak French.)
Je n’apprends pas le français. (I don’t learn French.)

Je me présente. (I introduce myself.)
Je m’appelle Kaushik. (My name is Kaushik / I call myself Kaushik.)

Tu te présente. (You introduce yourself.)
Tu t’appelles Gautam. (Your name is Gautam / You call yourself Gautam.)

Elle se présente. (She introduces herself.)
Elle s’appelle Radhika. (Her name is Radhika / She call herself Radhika.)

Le livre. (The book.)
L’âge. (The age.)

La nationalité. (The nationality.)
L’université. (The university.)

Je suis de Delhi. (I am from Delhi.)
Je suis d’Amritsar. (I am from Amritsar.)

Il dit que nous parlons trop vite. (He says that we are talking too fast.)
Il dit qu’elle parle trop vite. (He says that she is talking too fast.)

In oral speech, elision is much more frequent and one may often hear for example “T’aimes ça ?” (You like that ?), instead of the proper form “Tu aimes ça ?”

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