Pronunciation: the forbidden “e”

A1 Breakthrough
The letter "e” is very unstable. Depending on its position in the word or in the group, it is pronounced or not.
In some cases its pronunciation is compulsory, optional, or prohibited.

At the beginner level, we focus on the forbidden "e”.
•     Before a verb starting with a vowel, the "e” of "je” is removed. We write "j’”: "J’ai”.
•    At the end of the group of words: "La carte”, "Qu’est-ce/que tu prends? ”
•    Within the group, before a word starting with a vowel: "Une entrée”, "salade italienne”.

Combined with a consonant, the letter "e” produces different vowel sounds:
e + consonant at the end of a syllable: /ɛ/  
Audio file
→  "merci
e + "t” at the end of a word: /e/ ou /ɛ/
Audio file
Audio file
→  "le poulet
e + "z” at the end of a verb: /e/
Audio file
  →  "vous avez”, "vous allez
In the combination "eur”, "eu” is pronounced /œ/
Audio file
→  "le serveur
BE CAREFUL: the final letter "é” is pronounced /e/
Audio file
→  "Désolé

Practical exercises

Pronunciation: Pronouncing the "e"

4 exercises
Listen • Pronunciation (silent letters / silent “e”)