Why don’t you pronounce the x on the end of délicieux in French?

Consonants in French are very often ignored when they’re on the ends of words. Here are some tips for helping you navigate the world of final consonants

Kieran Ball


TL;DR — the only consonants you pronounce on the end of French words are C, R, F and L

If you’ve been learning French with 3 Minute French, you’ll have come across a few words in the first course that aren’t pronounced how you might expect. The following words, for instance, all end with letters that are completely silent:

  • délicieux (delicious)
  • parfait (perfect)
  • toujours (always)
  • tout (everything)
  • mauvais (bad)
  • restaurant (restaurant)
  • mais (but)

However, there are then some other words in French that end in consonants that you do pronounce! That these, for example, the consonants at the end of clearly pronounced:

  • sac (bag)
  • docteur (doctor)
  • œuf (egg)
  • vol (flight)
  • parc (park)
  • plaisir (pleasure)
  • neuf (nine)
  • appel (call)

So, how do you know when to pronounce a consonant on the end of a word or not? Well, the word careful can help us out. The only consonants you ever pronounce on the end of a word in French are c, f, r and l. These are the only consonants you can find in the word CaReFuL. Any other consonant is not pronounced. If a word ends in a C, R, F or L, you can pronounce the last letter, but if it ends in any other consonant, you can’t pronounce it.


How do you think you would pronounce these words in French?

  • donc (therefore)
  • alors (so)
  • nord (north)
  • nous (we)
  • éléphant (elephant)
  • soif (thirst)
  • avril (April)
  • finir (to finish)

ER ending



Kieran Ball

Teacher and creator of 3 Minute Languages — a series of books and online courses that help you to learn a foreign language quickly and easily www.3minute.club