Pronunciation / the sound [õ] - “on”

A1 Breakthrough
 In French, there are nasal vowels :
[ɛ̃] as in
Audio file
“ à demain ! ”
[ɑ̃] as in
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“ vraiment ! ”
[õ] as in
Audio file
“ c’est bon ! ”

To pronounce vowels, air always goes through the mouth.
To pronounce a nasal vowel, air goes through the mouth and through the nose :

How to pronounce the sound [õ] in 4 steps?

The sound [õ] is the cousin of the sound [o]. It is a nasal sound, a low-pitched sound. When you pronounce it, air comes out of both your mouth and nose. If it is difficult, you can start by saying [o] while pinching the bridge of your nose.
  • Relax. Imagine that you receive an unexpected news. Your face expresses surprise:
  • Keep your face in the same position: rounded lips and mid-opened mouth. Say “Oooooo !!!!
  • Repeat and let some air pass through your nose. Feel the air vibrate in your nostrils.
  • Congratulation, you made the sound [õ]!
The sound [õ] is written:
  • on”: bon, citron, boisson, onze.
  • om” + b/p: bombe, pompier.
  • om” at the end of “nom, prénom, pronom”.

It is the sound you hear at the end of conjugated verbs with “nous” (nous mangeons, nous cuisinons), as well as at the end of some conjugated verbs with “ils/elles” (ont, sont, font, vontetc.).

Be careful, there is NO nasal sound [õ] in:
  • bon appétit[bɔnapeti]
  • bonne[bɔn]


To help you:
  • Your face expresses surprise: rounded lips and mid-opened mouth.
  • You lower your voice. You can make a hand gesture downwards to help you.
  • The sound [õ] is the nasal equivalent of [o], a very low-pitched sound. You can put your hand on your nose and the other on you stomach to feel the sound resonate in these parts of your body.
Audio file
Quel monde !
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Quelle bombe !
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Dis donc !
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Mais non !
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C’est bon !
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C’est long !

Practical exercises

Pronunciation: the "on" sound

6 exercises
Look • Listen • Pronunciation (sounds / nasal - in, an, on)