Silent -ts in the word étudiants?

Hi, I understand that in many cases the ending consonant is silent in French, but what about the word étudients? Do you pronounce the t near the end, or just make -ts silent together? (I got confused by listening to Duolingo, which doesn't pronounce -ts, but I don't think I saw any explanation for it). If -ts is silent indeed, is there a general rule?

September 6, 2019


The way I hear it, étudiants ends in the nose. You could say that the T and the S are silent. More important than how you describe it is that you pronounce it correctly. And more important than this is that you understand it correctly when it is pronounced. When I have questions about pronunciation, I generally rely on

Check it out sometime. I think you'll find it helpful for questions such as these.

September 6, 2019

I don't know if it is a general rule, but if the letter at the end of a singular word is silent, it will be the same for the plural : commerçant (silent t) , commerçants (silent ts). Knowing if a letter is silent at the end of a word is not easy, but the "s", when marking the plural, is always silent

September 6, 2019

To be literal, not only are the T and S silent, but so is the N! That is, it makes the vowel nasal, but it isn't pronounced as the consonant N sound.

September 7, 2019


The pronunciation of French words is particularly destabilizing. Unlike German or Spanish, French has many letters that can become silent (d, l, p, r, s, t, x, z) or sounds generated by the association of several letters (especially au, eu, ou, et, an, en, in, in, on, un, ll).

To my knowledge, the final t can:

  • Either be silent and have no consequence on the pronunciation of the word, as in the word étudiant, as in the adjective petit or as in verbs conjugated in the third person, for example il marchait (past tense), on sait, ils étudient (present tense), elles parleront (future).

  • Either be silent, but giving another sound to the vowel e which precedes as in the conjunction et (=é), as in the word jouet (=è) or as in the adjective discret (=è).

On the other hand, the final s that characterizes the regular plural of a word is also silent. That is why in étudiants, petits, jouets, discrets, we don't pronounce either the t or the s.

Of course, my explanations are not at all exhaustive, because the French people love to be complicated. It makes them feel like they're smarter (and therefore much more sophisticated) than the others.

(English explanations by translator)

Bonjour !

La prononciation des mots français est particulièrement déstabilisante. Contrairement à l'allemand ou à l'espagnol, le français comporte beaucoup de lettres qui peuvent devenir silencieuses (d, l, p, r, s, t, x, z) ou de sons générés par l'association de plusieurs lettres (notamment au, eu, eau, ou, et, an, en, in, on, un, ll).

À ma connaissance, le t final peut :

  • Soit être silencieux et ne pas avoir de conséquence sur la prononciation du mot, comme dans les mots étudiant, comme dans l'adjectif petit ou comme dans les verbes conjugués à la troisième personne, par exemple il marchait (passé), on sait, ils étudient (présent), elles parleront (futur).

  • Soit être silencieux, mais donner un autre son à la voyelle e qui précède comme dans la conjonction et (=é), comme dans le mot jouet (=è) ou comme dans l'adjectif discret (=è).

D'autre part le s final qui caractérise le pluriel régulier d'un mot est également silencieux. Voilà pourquoi dans étudiants, petits, jouets, discrets, on ne prononce ni le t ni le s.

Naturellement, mes explications ne sont pas du tout exhaustives, car les Français adorent se montrer compliqués. Ça leur donne l'impression d'être plus intelligents (et donc tellement plus sophistiqués) que les autres.

September 7, 2019

I see! Thanks for the inputs. You both have been really helpful!

September 7, 2019

you pronounce the t when it is étudiante but not when it is étudiant the s is always silent silent and t is only pronounced when there is a 'e' before it

September 8, 2019

i think it is a silent 'ts', as most cases where 's', 't' are at the end of a word...

September 8, 2019
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