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Maintenant Pronunciation – How to say “now” in French

Maintenant Pronunciation – How to say “now” in French

In today’s lesson I’ll answer the question: “What is the correct pronunciation of maintenant (now)?” The truth of the matter is that there are two accepted pronunciations which I’ll explain below.


now – / mɛ̃t(ə)nɑ̃ /

French word of the day: Maintenant - now in French

Word origin

According to, the modern French adverb maintenant (now) is the present participle of the verb maintenir (to keep, maintain). Hence, the literal translation of maintenant is “keeping” or “maintaining”. This page on our site explains the French present participle.

Maintenant Pronunciation

As mentioned, there are two accepted pronunciations of maintenant , which French pronunciation teacher Julien Miquel explains in the video below. The academic pronuniciaton is: mɛ̃tənɑ̃. However, in spoken French the middle -e (or the -te syllable) can be skipped, resulting in this pronunciation: mɛ̃t-nɑ̃. The video makes it clear.

Video source: Julien Miquel

Example sentences

This first example sentence uses the verb faire (to make, to do) conjugated in the vous (you formal or plural) form. In this sentence, you’ll hear that Marie, our voice over artist, used the academic pronunciation and clearly pronounced the -te syllable.

Qu’est-ce que vous faites maintenant ?

What are you doing now?

This next example uses the impersonal expression il faut, which has a main underlying meaning of “it’s necessary to”. The peronal pronoun on translates to “one” but also means “we”. In this sentence you’ll hear that Marie used the colloquial pronunciation and omitted the -e in the -te syllable. This illustrates the point that both pronunciations are perfectly acceptable.

Il faut partir maintenant ou on ratera l’avion!

We need to leave now or we’ll miss the plane!

C’est maintenant ou jamais !

It’s now or never!

Other ways of saying now in French

There are several other ways of saying now in French which I’ll mention here.


Et voilà ! You now now how to pronounce and use maintenant (now) in French. The word maintenant has some tricky nasal sounds, which native speaker and Parisian Camille from French Today explains beautifully in this lesson.

On y va maintenant. = Let's go now.
Allons-y maintenant. = Let’s go now.

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David Issokson

David Issokson is a lifelong language enthusiast. His head is swimming with words and sounds as he speaks over six languages. Of all the languages he speaks, he's the most passionate about French! David has helped hundreds of students to improve their French in his private online lessons. When procrastinating working on his site,, David enjoys his time skiing and hiking in Teton Valley, Idaho.

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