Sûr, sur, sur

Sûr, sur, sur

sewr, sewr, sewr. Click below to hear this!

Sure, certain, safe, secure, on, sour

Have I mentioned that French is full of homonyms? Here is one family of them, out of the many that populate the language.

To start with, you’ll notice that there are more English words in the list of translations than there are in the list of French words. That’s because some of the French words have multiple meanings.

Sûr(e)(s) is an adjective, which is why there are an optional e for the feminine and an optional s for the plural. Naturally, these are only used when called for. And the meanings? There are two branches of definitions: one carrying the sense of sure or certain, and the other carrying the sense of safe or secure.

Sur, the preposition, means on or upon. As a preposition, of course, it has no alternative forms, and just this one basic meaning. Note that it means physically on, and not, for example, on Tuesday or on June 9th. There is no equivalent in French for on in this sense.

And lastly, we have another sur. This one is an adjective, so we can write sur(e)(s), with the feminine and plural endings displayed just to show that they exist. This sur is a completely different word from the other two. It means sour. It’s not used all that often–there are other French words that mean the same–but it’s important to know it exists, since it looks so much like its homonyms.

Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry.

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