Don’t worry and don’t send angry comments pointing out that I should have used a past participle in –é (tué) instead of the infinitive tuer in the title of this post. If you studied French, you probably know that this type of mistake is one of the most frequent ones. This distinction seems to be a real nightmare for many people (native and non-native speakers alike). It’s also the title of a very recent book on French orthography which was published a few days ago in the series “Cahiers du CENTAL” edited by the Louvain-la-Neuve University Press. The various contributions focus on the different avenues which should be explored to improve the spelling skills of college students in the French-speaking world. Spelling and grammar are inextricably related in French and teachers who are confronted with essays and papers marred by spelling and grammar mistakes often no longer know how they should react.


Spelling issues are envisaged from different angles in this book. Pedagogical approaches are discussed, as well as the French spelling reform, or the spelling of compounds, to give only a few examples. New linguistic forms like “alternative” spellings used in text-messaging (SMS) systems are also discussed. The editors asked me to write a chapter for this book to discuss the new French spell-checker made available to Microsoft Office users, and more particularly to show how the French spelling reform and feminine job titles were implemented.


The title of my contribution reads as follows:


Rectifications orthographiques et féminisation des noms de métier: le nouveau correcteur orthographique français de Microsoft Office.


Here are the full references of the book:


“Le français m’a tuer”. Actes du colloque L’orthographe française à l’épreuve du supérieur.

Edités par Jean-Jacques Didier, Olivier Hambursin, Philippe Moreau, Michel Seron.

Louvain-La-Neuve : Presses Universitaires de Louvain (Cahiers du Cental 1), p. v-103.

ISBN : 2-87463-020-9


Note that our French grammar checker flags the mistake in the title J.


Thierry Fontenelle

Microsoft Speech & Natural Language group