Top 10 mistakes in French that we believe are correct

You’ve never been a spelling arrow, but you’re not totally a crackpot either. Let’s say you’re average: you get by, and sometimes you improvise a bit with those pesky past participle chords, or you get around the problem by twisting the sentence another way. But overall you never make spelling mistakes like “I don’t know who it is”. Except what you don’t know is that even when you think you’re doing fine, you make mistakes. The proof in ten very ugly mistakes, which you happily commit every day, and ke cé kon will correct together.

1. We never write “whatever”. No never.

We can write “quel(s) que soi(en)t”, “quel(s) que soi(en)t”, depending on the term that follows. But not “whatever”: even if it is done in the administrative letters, it is not an excuse.

Top 10 mistakes in french that we believe are correct
Picture credits: Topito

2. You should never write “so much for me”, it’s wrong.

You have to write “in time for me”. We see you coming, you don’t believe us, you doubt? Go check it out. So ? Yes, we are right. Don’t search. (But yes, you have the right to bitch and explain that “now we can say both”).

3. “Sometimes”, with very rare exceptions, is always written in one word.

Have you ever spelled “sometimes” correctly?

4. The phrase “queens have come and gone” is correct.

Even if it’s ugly… The past participle of the verb “to succeed” must not agree with the feminine plural. So yes, you are right, “the queens” is subject and the auxiliary “to be” normally requires that we agree with the subject, but not there. If you are told that it is because the pronoun “se” is here a COI, that does not enlighten you, does it? Well, however, here, that explains everything.

5. “Among” and “despite” never take “s”.

Don’t show bad will, for once it’s easy anyway, we tell you: NEVER. So you hold it once and it’s good. On the other hand, “always” always has one. Still. And “never” too. But it will confuse you.

6. “One hundred” and “twenty” only take an “s” if they are multiplied and not followed by another numeral adjective.

So “one hundred Z euros” is awful. Ditto for “twenty Z euros”. Do not be good students who have never made this mistake orally, we heard you. And it wasn’t pretty pretty.

7. The verb “to call” is damn boring. Certainly.

One hit it takes 2 “l”, one hit it only takes one… Why “I call” but we “call”? Let’s sum up: in the present, only with “we” and “you” does it only take an “l”. On the other hand, it always takes two “p”. It’s good there, is it better?

8. Don’t make the terrible mistake of omitting that “commit” and “omit” don’t have the same number of “m’s”!

On the other hand, we will not insult you by reminding you that “to see” only takes a “p”, you will have noticed it for yourself…

9. You should never write “she allowed herself” or “I allowed myself” (even when you’re a woman.)

It’s a very ugly fault that we would explain to you, but the reason being similar to that of point n°4 which didn’t thrill you, we hesitate, we don’t want to be too forbidding.

10. The endings of the verbs of the third group, it’s not (so) complicated.

You write “he solves” without flinching, your heart swings between “I paint” and “I paint”, “you sell” does not make you hot or cold. However, these are horrors that would make the first French teacher come along sick. Here, on the other hand, apart from reconciling with your Bescherelle, there are few possible outcomes…

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