French pronunciation: the letter C

Here are some handy tips for pronouncing the letter C in French

Kieran Ball
The Happy Linguist
Published in
2 min readOct 24, 2022


There are two different ways to pronounce the letter C in French:

1. Like a K
2. Like an S

C + A / O / U = K

The letter C is pronounced like a K when it is in front of the letters A, O or U.

café (kah-feh)
concombre (kon-kom-breugh)
curiosité (koo-ree-oh-see-teh)

C + E / I = S

The letter C is pronounced like an S when it is in front of the letters E or I.

c’est (seh)
garçon (gar-son(g))
façade (fah-sad)

The Ç cedilla

If you put a cedilla (the little squiggle) on a letter C, it will change it from a K sound to an S sound. So, “ç” is always pronounced like an S.

ça (sah)
concombre (kon-kom-breugh)
curiosité (koo-ree-oh-see-teh)

Let’s practise

How do you pronounce these French words correctly?

  1. carottes
  2. cent
  3. c’est
  4. caleçon
  5. ça
  6. nièce
  7. circuit
  8. ciel
  9. contre
  10. cependant


  1. kah-ROT
  2. son(g)
  3. seh
  4. kal-SON(g)
  5. nee-ESS
  6. seer-KWEE
  7. see-ELL
  8. kon-treugh
  9. seugh-pon(g)-don(g)

Learn more

This lesson was taken from my course called “3 Minute French — Course 1”. If you want to learn more French using my unique and easy-to-follow method, then you can get the whole course here:

3 Minute French — Course 1

In this course, I break down the French language into its core components and show you how to build it back together again. Just for your reference, this explanation about the pronunciation of the letter C can be found in lesson 3 of the 3 Minute French course.



Kieran Ball
The Happy Linguist

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