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French adjectives ending in -et

French has a few adjectives that end in -et in the written masculine form. For example: complet (complete) and net (clear).

As for as pronunciation is concerned, these forms aren't too difficult:

The final t is pronounced in the feminine form, but not in the masculine form.

As is often the case, the spelling system makes things look at bit compliceted. There are two spelling patterns that adjectives ending in -t can follow:

  • most adjectives ending in -et have feminine forms ending in -ette;
  • a few, common adjectives ending in -et have feminine forms ending in -ète.

Feminine forms ending in -ète

There are a few common adjectives ending in -et whose feminine ends in -ète. Most of these have been adopted in English:

Masculine formFeminine formMeaning
(in)complet(in)complète(in)complete; full (theatre, train etc)
concretconcrèteconcrete
désuetdésuèteobsolete, no longer used
(in)discret(in)discrète(in)discreet
inquiet1inquièteworried, anxious, uneasy
repletreplèteplump, chubby (cf English replete)
secretsecrètesecret

Other adjectives: feminine in -ette

The feminine of other adjectives ending in -et is conventionally written with -ette. For example:

Masculine formFeminine formMeaning
cadetcadette younger
muetmuette mute
netnette clear, plain; clean, tidy

Adjectives ending in -el

French adjectives ending in -el follow a similar rule to adjectives ending in -et(te), as they double the final l in the feminine.


1. The feminine of the now obsolete word quiet (from which inquiet is derived) is also written quiète in modern spelling.

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This page written by Neil Coffey. Copyright © Javamex UK 2014. All rights reserved.