Les sons « on », « an » et « in »

French Grammar (see all French Grammar tips)

Want to improve your French? Test our online French lessons for free!

Les sons « on », « an » et « in »

ON - [ɔ̃] - Lips pursed

on one, we
vont (they) go
son his/hers, sound
mon mine
font (they) do
don gift/donation

AN / EN - [ɑ̃] - Lips open

en in/by, etc
vent wind
sans without
ment (he) lies
fend (it) cracks, splits
dans in

UN / IN / AIM - [œ̃] / [ɛ̃] - Lips spread apart

un a/one
vin wine
sein breast
main hand
faim hungry
daim suede

•  The sound can be written either as en or an, and is pronounced in the same way.
Une dent, dans, sans, il sent, enfant, etc. a tooth, in, without, he smells, child, etc.

•  The sound is written as ain, ein, aim or in, and is pronounced the same in all cases.
La fin, il a faim, un sein, sain the end, he’s hungry, a breast, healthy

•  There is a slight difference in the pronunciation of the sounds [œ̃] (the un spelling) and [ɛ̃] (the in or aim spelling). Most of the time the difference is too slight even for French ears.
Il est brun He has brown hair.
Un brin de muguet A sprig of lily of the valley.

Still having difficulties with Les sons « on », « an » et « in »? Want to improve your French? Test our online French lessons and receive a free level assessment!

Do you have smart way of remembering this rule? A tip to avoid making a mistake on Les sons « on », « an » et « in »? Share it with us!