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Another French Question

How can I hear the difference between Il/Elle aime and Ils/elles aiment? Is there a way? (I did use the search bar and I couldn't find anything on this subject.) The reason I'm asking this, is because on the listening exercises, I get some questions wrong when I hear one of these and Duolingo wanted me to put the other one.

April 12, 2020



Il/Elle aime and Ils/elles aiment don't sound the same. There is a liaison between ils or elles and aiment which produces a z sound, because of the following vowel (a).
Ils-z-aiment, elles-z-aiment.


I am a native

Sometimes, in French, there are silent letters which makes that you prononciate two sentences in the same way, like : "Ils mangent" or "Il mange" (you pronciate it in the same way). (the S is not prononciated in "ils mangent")

But, when you have "Ils aiment", because the verb starts with a vowel, when you speak, you say : "/il zeme/" and not "/il eme/" because of the "s" at the end of "ils" and the vowel at the beginning of your verb. For the sentence "il aime", you prononciate "/il eme/".

So, there is a difference, when there is a vowel in the word after (you have to do a vocal liaison)

(I don't know if my english is very good, if you don't understand, say it, I would make a better explanation)


I love your English . I'm impressed!!


The way they have designed the course is that they have tried very hard to set it up so that the system accepts a variety of correct answers. The French contributors are aware, of course, that sometimes in French, there will be silent letters that you can't hear in a listening exercise, and in those cases, they will accept more than one correct answer.

If you are certain that you didn't make any other error, you can report that your answer should have been accepted. You do that right after you are marked for an incorrect answer, within the lesson on the Learn page, not here on the Discussion page. Look at the bottom of the page, left side, at least on the website version of Duolingo.

Eventually, if a correct answer gets reported as missing, there is a very good chance that someone will add it later to the list of acceptable answers.

Thank you, uni-cat, for bringing up this point and starting a discussion of how to report errors. Especially if there is really a mistake in the course list of answers, and if you report it in the right way, so that the right people see your report, then you will have helped the learners in the future who will someday see the very same question during their lessons.

Here is a visual picture of what to do: https://support.duolingo.com/hc/en-us/articles/204752124-How-do-I-report-a-problem-with-a-sentence-or-translation-

  • 1570

In Ils/elles aiment the last "s" in (ils/elles) has a liaison with "aiment", producing a "z" sound.

Il aime sounds like [eel ehm] (using approximate English sounds)
Ils aiment sounds like [eelz ehm]

Note that you can only hear liaisons on regular speed in duolingo. If you click slow speed, the system speaks each word separately, and you won't hear the difference.

You can try typing the different sentences on forvo and hearing the difference.


[deactivated user]

    There are some listening exercises where there is no difference in the sound of the singular and plural forms, and some where there should be a difference but as the sentences are bot-generated rather than spoken by native speakers, there is none!

    In those listening exercise - you just have to remember which one they have picked as the "correct" answer and stick to that. It's not a perfect site, but its free and so long as you can accept the limitations, it works most of the time.

    If it gets too distracting, turn off the mike and speaker in your settings so you only get reading / writing questions.

    Use other resources, listen to webcasts and you-tube lessons spoken by native speakers and you will continue to improve.


    Same here. I think "Il aime..." Is "He likes... blah blah blah" and "Ils aiment" is "He likes THE blah blah blah"


    Not really. Il is the 3rd person singular pronoun, ils is 3rd person plural. The English equivalents would be "he" (or "it" in some cases) and "them" (assuming "them" is either a group of males, or mixed genders).

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