French Contractions

In contrast to the nature of contractions being optional in English, the French contractions are indeed mandatory, and they follow a certain set of rules covered as follows:

La + infirmière = L’infirmière The nurse
Le + étudiant = l’étudiant The student
Je + ai = J’ai I have
Ce + est = C’est It is
Puisque + il = Puisq’il Since he
Lorsque + elle = Lorsqu’elle When she

À + le = au to the (masculine singular)
À + les = aux to the (general plural)
À + lequel = auquel to which (masculine singular)
À + lesquels = auxquels to which (general plural)
À + lesquelles = auxquelles to which (feminine plural)
De + le = du some (preceding a masculine singular noun)
De + les = des some (preceding a general plural noun)
De + lequel = duquel some of which (referring to a masculine singular noun)
De + lesquels = desquels some of which (referring to a general plural noun)
De + lesquelles = desquelles some of which (referring to a feminine singular noun)
Aujourd’hui Today
D’accord Agreed
D’après According to
Presqu’île Peninsula
Quelqu’un Someone


  1. Words that finish with a vowel and precede a word that also starts with a vowel, a silent “h”, or the pronoun”y”, replace their last letter for an apostrophe and join the next word.
  2. The definite articles le and les, as well as the pronoun “lequel” and some of its variants, are contracted when following the prospositions “à” and “de”:

  3. * Note that the only exception to this rule is given when the articles “le” and “les” have the function of an object pronoun within a sentence.

    • Elle m'a demandé de le appeler.
    • She asked me to call her.

    • Ils voulaient à les faire cuire.
    • They helped me to wash them.

  4. Fixed contractions: a number of French words are contracted by nature.
  5. As a final word, it is worth mentioning that words beginning with an aspirated “h” (which are most often borrowings from other languages); the words “oui”, “onze” and all those of foreign origin beginning with the letter “y” cannot be contracted with the word that precedes them. All the same, it is not valid to join the words “presque” (save for the case of the aforementioned example, “presqu’île”) or “qui” with any other words that come after them.

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