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French Adverb Spelling Tips! Posted by on Jun 25, 2015 in Grammar

Adverbs are a fun little part of a language – they’re used to modify adjectives, prepositions, verbs, and even other adverbs.

La bonne nouvelle (the good news)? They’re invariable! No need to worry about all those tricky agreement rules.

La mauvaise nouvelle (the bad news)? They sometimes follow pretty specific placement rules. Ok, the rules aren’t so bad, but you still have to know them.

What are some examples of an adverb?

  • parfois (sometimes), toujours (always), and jamais (ever) are all frequency adverbs.
  • silencieusement (silently) and vite (quickly) are both adverbs of manner
  • bientôt (soon), maintenant (now), and demain (tomorrow) are all adverbs of time
  • quand (when), comment (how), (where) are all interrogative adverbs
  • assez (enough), trop (too many/much), and peu (few) are all quantity adverbs

…et j’en passe (and that’s not all)! There are many more examples and a few more kinds of adverbs, but’s not the focus on today’s lesson 😉


In February, John posted quite an interesting article about how –ment adverbs are formed. That’s perfect for oral practice, but what about for writing out adverbs? As a French student, you know that trying to transcribe what you hear in French is sometimes extremely difficult. It’s not written how it’s spoken. All those complicated rules and exceptions and written forms that seem to defy all logic.

L’orthographe français (French spelling) can be un véritable cauchemar (a real nightmare) – even for natives! Today, I’m going to give you a couple spelling tips and rules for adverbs. Any astuce (trick [masc.]) can help!


-emment vs. –amment


Voilà un autre exemple (here’s another example) of how pronunciation can make it difficult to know the spelling. They’re both pronounced the same, so is it puissamment or puissemment?

It’s the first one!

How can you know this? Here’s the fun part: it’s simple and there are no exceptions!

Whether it’s an –a or an –e all depends on the adjective form of the word! PuissAnt (not puissEnt), so puissamment!

-ant will become –amment
-ent will become -emment

These aren’t technically exceptions because there are no adjective forms for the short upcoming list, but il faut apprendre par cœur (learn these by heart): précipitamment (hurriedly), notamment (particularly), nuitamment (by night), and sciemment (deliberately).

So, if you know the adjective, the spelling of the adverb shouldn’t be a problem! Want to give it a shot? Answers at the bottom!


  1. élégamment OU élégemment
  2. apparamment OU apparemment
  3. couremment OU couramment
  4. évidemment OU évidamment
  5. différemment OU différamment
  6. récemment OU récamment
  7. patientamment OU patientemment
  8. constemment OU constamment
  9. précipitamment OU précipitemment
  10. consciemment OU consciamment
  11. fréquemment OU fréquamment
  12. bruyemment OU bruyamment
  13. savamment OU savemment
  14. récemment OU récamment




élégamment from élégant ; 2. apparemment from apparent ; 3. couramment from courant ; 4. évidemment from évident ; 5. différemment from diffêrent ; 6. récemment from récent ; 7. patientemment from patient ; 8. constamment from constant ; 9. précipitamment (no adjectival form) ; 10. consciemment from conscient ; 11. fréquemment from fréquent ; 12. bruyamment from bruyant ; 13. savamment from savant ; 14. récemment from récent


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About the Author: Josh Dougherty

Just your typical francophile. If you have any topics you'd like me to discuss, feel free to let me know!


  1. Paul Yue:

    There Is a typo in: sciemment (deliverately).
    It should be : sciemment (deliberately).