Les liaisons dangereuses

French Grammar (see all)

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Les liaisons dangereuses

French requires liaison when two words are pronounced without a pause between the two and when the second word starts with a vowel or a silent h.
vous achetez (you buy), elle les aime (she loves them), vous en avez (you have some) (pronoun + verb; pronoun + pronoun)
un homme (a man)​, les anciens étudiants ​ (the former students) (article + noun; article + adjective, adjective + noun)
trop important ​ (too important), bien assez tôt (soon enough) (adverb + adjective or adverb + adverb)
Vient-elle ? (Is she coming?) (verb + subject when subject is inverted)

Liaison is not allowed when there is a pause between the words.
Jules et Isabelle ​ (after et)
Mes chats ont tout mangé ​ (my cats ate everything), Bertrand est parti (Bertrand has left)​ (noun + verb)
Ont-ils aimé le film ? ​ (Did they like the film?) (pronoun + verb when the subject is inverted)
les haricots verts ​ (green beans) (in front of a voiced or aspirated h)

For the other cases, you can use liaison or not, it’s up to you. (You can pronounce the words without a pause or with a pause).
Je suis étudiant ​ or (I’m a student) (verb + complement)
des prix élevés or (high prices) (noun + adjective)

Note:
•  If there is a choice to use liaison or not, the style becomes more formal when liaison is made.
•  The pronunciation of certain letters changes when the liaison is made:
d becomes t → un grand enfant (pronounced un [grantenfant]) ​ (a big child)
f becomes v → neuf heures (pronounced [neuveheure]) ​ nine o’clock
s and x become z → de beaux yeux (pronounced de [beauzyeux]) ​ (beautiful eyes)
ein, ain become eine, aine → un lointain ami (pronounced un [lointaine ami]) ​ (a distant friend)



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