Homophones are words that sound the same but differ in meaning and spelling. This is the case for the French nouns “amande” and “amende“, which are frequently confused by French learners due to their identical pronunciation. In this article, we will clarify the distinction between these two words.
“Amande” refers to the nut or seed of the almond tree. For example, “J’ai ajouté des amandes effilées sur ma salade.” (I added slivered almonds to my salad). It is also an ingredient in many pastries, candies and desserts. “Le gâteau aux amandes” (Almond cake).
Meanwhile, “amende” means a fine or penalty, especially for a violation of law or rule. Some examples are “Il a payé une amende pour excès de vitesse.” (He paid a fine for speeding) and “Le montant de l’amende était de 100 euros.” (The fine was 100 euros). The verb form is “amender” meaning to fine or penalize.
Although identical in sound, the spellings provide a clue to differentiate their meanings. Furthermore, context can help determine if the word refers to the nut or the financial punishment. With time and practice, French speakers can learn to distinguish these tricky sound-alike nouns. Grasping these subtle distinctions is key to achieving mastery of the French language.
To expand your French vocabulary and avoid common pitfalls, don’t miss this essential read. The Differences Between “Différent” “Différend” “Différant”