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plutôt & plus tôt - French spelling & pronunciation

Plutôt & plus tôt, one same pronunciation for two spellings

by | 30 Aug 2016 | French Language


Plutôt in one word and plus tôt in two words: what is the difference?

In French, the pronunciation is exactly the same because the final s of plus in plus tôt is not pronounced at all. That’s why it can be sometimes tricky to choose the right spelling between plutôt and plus tôt, even (and maybe even more!) for French natives!

Plutôt in one word is an adverb that can mean rather, more precisely or preferably:

  • Cette question d’orthographe est plutôt courante. (This spelling issue is rather common.)
  • C’est plutôt par gentillesse que par faiblesse qu’elle a réagi ainsi. (It’s more precisely out of kindness than out of weakness that she reacted that way.)
  • Il relit ses mails avec attention et plutôt deux fois qu’une. (He reads his emails over again very carefully and preferably twice.)

Plus tôt in two words means before, earlier. Its opposite in French is plus tard (later).

  • J’arrive toujours au travail plus tôt que mes collègues. (I always get to work before my colleagues.)
  • Ce matin, nous nous sommes levés plus tôt que d’habitude. (This morning, we got up earlier than usual.)


Try this tip ! It’s easy: if you can replace it with plus tard, it means you should choose plus tôt in two words, exactly in the way plus tard is also spelt in two words. If you can’t, though, then it means you need to spell it in one word: plutôt.

There you are! You now know exactly what the difference is between plutôt and plus tôt. Congratulations! 😀


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