French stress

This little tip will immediately make you sound more French

Kieran Ball
The Happy Linguist
Published in
2 min readOct 25, 2022


If there’s one thing that I would say will improve your French accent in the easiest way possible, it’s this: you should emphasise the last syllable of any word.

In English

In English, you stress different parts of the word, and you just have to know which part to emphasise.

fantastic — fan-TAS-tic
absolutely — ab-so-LUTE-ly
delicious — de-LI-cious

Sometimes, you’ll have a word that can mean two different things depending on which part you emphasise.

present — PRE-sent
present — pre-SENT

record — re-CORD
record — RE-cord

perfect — per-FECT
perfect — PER-fect

content — CON-tent
content — con-TENT

project — pro-JECT
project — PRO-ject

In French

In French, it’s much easier. You should always emphasise the last syllale of any word in French. Simply by abiding by this little tip, you will immediately notice a change in your French pronunciation. I know when I learnt about it, it made everything much easier.

Look at the very common word: merci. It means “thank you”, and you’ll often hear English people pronounce it “MERci”, stressing the first syllable more than the second syllable. However, it should be pronounced “merCI”, with the emphasis on the last syllable.

This is always the case in French — emphasise the last syllable:


Let’s practise

How do you pronounce these French words correctly?

  1. maison
  2. éléphant
  3. français
  4. manger
  5. voudrais
  6. famille
  7. fatigué



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