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È Grave Accent in French: Pronunciation & Explanation

È Grave Accent in French: Pronunciation & Explanation

Many students who learn French guess their way through the accents and never really take them seriously. In today’s lesson I’ll answer a very specific question: “How do you pronounce the è with the downward slanting grave accent?”. We have great audio and by the end of the lesson you’ll never have to guess again!

è accent grave

è (sounds like eh as in bet) grave accent

È Accent Grave in French

È accent grave – pronunciation explained

In French, the è is always pronounced with an [ɛ] sound as in “met” or “let”. Listen to Marie, our voice over artist pronounce the sound: È or è – [ɛ]. The French words père (father) and mère (mother) contain these sounds: père, mère.

Lesson podcast

Example sentences

Père, mère. Mon père et ma mère habitent aux États-Unis.

Father, mother. My father and mother live in the United States.

Frère. Mon frère s’appelle Guillaume et il habite en France.

Brother. My brother’s name is Guillaume and he lives in France.

The word dernière is the feminine form of dernier (last). The -ière spelling pattern can cause confusion among students. Pronouce it: [ee-ehr].

Dernière. C’est la dernière fois que je fais cette erreur.

Last. It’s the last time I make this mistake.

We included préfère as it has both the é with the upward slanting accute accent (accent aigu) as well as the downward slanting è grave accent. The pronunciatoin here is very simple: Pronounce the the first é like [ay] as in “play” and è as like [eh] in “bet”.

Préfère. Je préfère le homard mais j’aime aussi le foie gras.

Prefer. I prefer lobster but I also like foie gras.

Accent grave on other letters

In French, the grave accent can appear over other letters. This is done to distinguish homophones.

  • Ou / où – Or / where
  • A / à – Has / to or at

Easiest way to type è in French

On a computer, I personally like to use the free tool for typing French accents.


Et voilà ! You should now have a much better grasp of how to pronounce è accent grave in French. Following this lesson two other useful resources are our lesson covering how ot read French accents as well as French Today’s French accents audio lesson.

Example sentence with word with è grave accent in France.
Voici deux frerès. Here are two bothers.

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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 FrenchLearner, David enjoys his time skiing and hiking in Teton Valley, Idaho.

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