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How to use Fiancé vs. Fiancée to talk about your soon-to-be spouse

Fiancé and fiancée can refer to the person you are going to marry or yourself if you are engaged. So, what’s the difference between the two spellings?

Beth Taylor
Beth Taylor

Fiancé or fiancée

Languages are constantly evolving and are often influenced by other languages. One example of a word borrowed from another language is “fiancé.” This French word means a person who is engaged to be wed. The old English equivalent is “betrothed,” although rarely used nowadays. Fiancé and fiancée can refer to the person you are going to marry or yourself if you are engaged. So, what’s the difference between the two spellings? And how do you know which one you should use to talk about yourself and your partner?

Is “fiancé” female?

The simple answer is no, “fiancé” without an additional “e” can never be used for a female. Most French adjectives require another “e” on the end to transform them into the feminine version. Similarly, we must add an “s” for plurals and “es” when describing both feminine and plural nouns. To summarize:

  • If you’re marrying a man, he’s your fiancé
  • If you’re marrying a woman, she’s your fiancée
  • Two betrothed lovers, if male and female or both male, are fiancés
  • Two betrothed females are fiancées

Is “fiancé” for male or female?

An adjective ending in an é is always masculine. This means that you can use it when discussing males as well as masculine objects. In this case, fiancé is used exclusively for people, as animals and objects don't get engaged. It should, therefore, only be used for those who identify as men.

Fiancé examples:

My fiancé, John, works in advertising.
Is your fiancé joining us, or will it just be the girls today?
Your fiancé and his groomsmen will need new suits for the big day.

Fiancée examples:

I’d like you to meet my fiancée, Kate. We got engaged last week.
My fiancée wants to wear her great-grandmother’s veil on our wedding day.
I’m his fiancée, I know him better than anyone in the world.

PronunciationMany French words have slightly different pronunciations when using the masculine or the feminine versions, although that is not the case in this instance. We pronounce both fiancé and fiancée identically: fee-on-say.

Video examples:

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006)
I Love You, Man (2009)
A Good Year (2006)
EnglishWhich is correct

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