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Differences Between French and English

Introduction to some of the key differences between French and English

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French and English are related languages in a sense, because French is a Latin language with German and English influence, while English is a Germanic language with Latin and French influence. Thus there are some similarities between them, most notably the same alphabet and a number of true cognates. Perhaps more importantly, however, there are a number of differences, both major and minor, between French and English. Here are some brief explanations with links to further information.

Comparison of characteristics
 
FrenchEnglish
 
accentsin many wordsonly in foreign words
 
agreementyesno
 
articlesmore commonless common
 
capitalizationless commonmore common
 
conjugationsdifferent for each grammatical person
 
different only for third person singular
 
contractionsrequiredoptional and informal
 
genderfor all nouns and most pronouns
 
only for personal pronouns
 
liaisonsyesno
 
negationtwo wordsone word
 
prepositionscertain verbs require prepositions
 
many phrasal verbs
 
rhythmstress at end of each rhythmic groupstressed syllable in each word, plus stress on important word
 
Roman numeralsmore common, often ordinal  
 
less common, rarely ordinal
 
subjunctivecommonextremely rare
 
 
Other differences between French and English
 
false cognatesWords that look alike don't necessarily mean the same thing.
 
pronunciationMany differences, particularly vowels and the letter R.
 
punctuationDifferent uses and spacing.
 
silent lettersMany in both, but not the same letters.
 
singulars and plurals
 
The grammatical number of nouns may be different.
 
spelling equivalents Patterns in spelling differ in the two languages.
 
word orderAdjectives, adverbs, negation, + pronouns may cause problems.
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