Working in conjunction with its English counterpart, Antidote’s French corrector is a powerful yet subtle tool that analyzes the linguistic, stylistic and typographical characteristics of your text – whether it is written exclusively in French or includes passages in both languages.
Antidote’s French corrector covers a wide range of language issues. It can detect and correct errors involving spelling, hyphens and capitalization; errors of grammatical agreement, including the notoriously difficult past participle; homophones (différent/différend, ces/ses, voir/voire, etc.) and other frequently confused words; the correct way to write dates, numbers or addresses in French; repetitions; inconsistent spelling; punctuation and spaces before punctuation marks; etc.
- Clicking on Antidote’s Help menu, under Other documents, you will find an HTML document entitled Démonstration de correction, which illustrates a wide range of the corrections that Antidote can make in French.
Ever since the far-reaching reforms to French spelling proposed by the Conseil supérieur de la langue française in 1990, two standards of French orthography have coexisted, called graphie traditionnelle and graphie rectifiée. Antidote can automatically correct your spelling to comply with either of these two standards, whichever you choose. It can even flag inconsistent spellings of the same word within a text.
To help polish your texts, Antidote’s Style view highlights critical questions of style in the French language through its five filters. They look for repetitions, long sentences, verbless sentences, various potentially awkward constructions, semantic redundancies, commonplace verbs, rare or long words, and many more. The Style view also highlights passages in which more equal representation of men and women is possible.
In addition, the French corrector includes various linguistic filters that let you examine your text from several angles. The filters in the revision prism focus on certain pragmatic, logical and semantic aspects of the text. The inspection prism lays bare the sentence’s constituent elements: syntactic categories and functions, verb tenses, etc. And the statistical prism compiles statistics on various linguistic parameters of the text and illustrates them graphically: the various error types, the most frequent words, the distribution of words according to their etymology, etc.
A text written largely in French may also include passages in English, and vice versa. These can consist of quotes, titles of books, etc. Antidote automatically identifies a text’s predominant language, and flags passages in the other language using a blue tab in the left margin labelled fr (for French passages) or en (for English passages). If the automatic language detection does not produce the expected result, you can manually specify the language of a particular passage or of the entire document by simply right clicking on the text and going to Language of the selection or Language of the document. These options are also available from the Corrector menu. If the passage is a quote or a dialogue in quotation marks, the flagged area in the margin will be green, with a speech bubble containing the language labels mentioned above.
Statistical information on the distribution of the two languages is displayed along the top of the corrector’s window, for example, 92% English, 8% French.
Important: the number and type of errors flagged by Antidote’s French corrector depend on your settings, including those listed under First language and Written French ability. Various other settings are found in both the English and the French versions; see the Settings section in this chapter for more details.
The list of detections
The list of detections is divided by language: under each class of detection, the headings English and French appear, in order to clearly distinguish their language.
Separate filters for each language
For multilingual texts, certain filters include two buttons, English and French, which allow you to view the analysis of the French passages and then the English passages. The filters that display these buttons are: (in the Statistics prism) Error types, Etymology and Categories; (in the Inspection prism) Categories, Phrases, Syntactic, Functions and Conjugation.
Using the corrector
In many respects, the French corrector is similar to the English corrector described in the Corrector chapter. Please refer to those pages for the details on the corrector’s operation that apply to both languages: accessing the corrector, the meaning of the different types of underlining, explanations of the different types of detections, the various settings, etc. Here, we describe those features of the corrector’s operation that are particular to French texts.
Language-specific features of the Style view
The options for the Style view apply to both languages, except when the language is specifically mentioned above the option.
The sections within the Style view adapt to the particularities of each language. For example, split infinitives are irrelevant to French, and so the Constructions section of the French Style view does not detect them. However, it does include a number of detections specific to French, such as participial phrases and the formation of negatives. Similarly, in the Vocabulary section, the French module distinguishes between offensive (e.g. racist, insulting, sexist, etc.) and inappropriate vocabulary (e.g. sexual, scatological, violent), while it does not detect contractions or nominalizations. Similarly, the Gender neutrality section produces different detections in French compared with its English counterpart, reflecting the different concerns specific to each language.
Language-specific features of the Inspection and Statistics prisms
The National varieties filter that appears in the Inspection prism of the English module does not exist in the French module. However, the French module does include three filters that don’t apply to English but are very relevant for French grammar checking: Agreement, which is far more complex in French, (grammatical) Genders and Spelling rectifications. The Syntactic functions and Conjugation filters also differ in the French module, owing to the differences between French and English grammars. You will also notice changes in the results of the Etymology filter (Statistics prism), since far more words in French derive from Latin, Gaulish and Frankish origins.
As in the English module, Antidote produces a detailed analysis for French sentences, with the difference that it employs certain notions that pertain to French grammar (e.g.: épithète, genre, incise). For a clear definition of these terms, you can consult Antidote’s dictionaries.