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Never mix up again these common words that sound the same in French

Updated: Aug 21, 2021

Have you already been in such an embarrassing situation of misunderstanding like in the picture below?

In this situation of communication, Alex is referring to making the accounts while Lin was referring to making tales. You will agree that this happens in most languages.

To me, it often happens when listening in English. First, I will first find the sentence weird and then it will take me some time to digest and understand it.

So, you must already know that there are tons of homophones in the French language. They all sound the same but have different meanings. Knowing their context of use will help you differentiate them and get you ready to use them. Today we will focus on the most common French homophones you need to know.

French homophones Conte and compte

Table of content

What are in fact homophones?

Why is it important to learn French homophones?

The homophones Danse and dense

The homophones Dans, and la dent

The homophones La fin, and la faim

The homophones Loup and loue

The homophones Tante, and tente

The homophones Ton and thon

The homophones cou, coup and coût

The homophones Sous, le sou, and saoul

The homophones Conte, comte, and compte

The homophones mère, maire, and mer

The homophones ver, verre, vert, and vers

What are in fact homophones?

Homophones are words that sound alike but have different meanings. When they are written the same way, they are called homographs. Homophones and homographs are all categorized in the big family of homonyms. For example cent (one hundred), sans (without), sang (blood).

Why is it important to learn French homophones?

The French language has the particularity of having lots of homophones. As we have seen in the illustration on top of this post, they may lead to some miscommunication. For instance, Alex was saying to Lin that they should make the accounts. But she understood he was telling them to make tales. And she reacted by saying that they were no more kids. So, one will be saying something and the other will be understanding something else. In this example, it was quite funny. But in some other circumstances, the consequences might be more serious.

Learning the common French homophones will save you from these kinds of embarrassing situations, and will improve your oral understanding of French.

I've selected some of the homophones that you might regularly encounter. Our focus will be on the "homophones lexicaux" and not the "homophones grammaticaux" that might be discussed in another post.

Below is their list, with an explanation of each of them and examples of sentences. In the end, you have a practice quiz.

The homophones Danse and dense

  • Danse, danses or dansent are all pronounced the same way and are the conjugated form of the verb danser (to dance) in the present tense. Example: Le prince danse avec Cendrillon. => The prince is dancing with Cinderella.

  • Dense is an adjective that expresses something dense. Example: Cette forêt est très dense. This forest is very dense.

The homophones Dans, and la dent

  • Dans is a preposition that can be translated as “in”. Example: Les étudiants sont dans la classe. => The students are in the classroom.

  • La Dent is a body part, inside the mouth, the tooth. Example: Je me brosse les dents trois fois par jour. => I brush my teeth thrice a day.

The homophones La fin, and la faim

  • La fin is a noun indicating the end of something. Example: C'est bientôt les fêtes de fin d'année. => It is soon the end of year celebrations.

  • La fin can also mea