Antidote 11 User Guide

User Guide / The French Module / Settings / Language Settings

Language Settings for French

General panel

Flag ambiguities

When this setting is enabled, Antidote will place an orange, wavy line under any words that can be written in more than one way according to the intended analysis.

  • This setting is enabled by default.

Flag gender-specific job titles

Traditionally, the French words for certain job titles only had a masculine form. Since these jobs are not limited to men, corresponding feminine forms, such as avocat/avocate and ingénieur/ingénieure have now developed. Some speakers still hesitate to use these feminine forms, although they are recommended and closely follow the grammatical and morphological rules of French.

By default, the corrector favours the feminine form of titles when they refer to a woman (e.g. Rose est une écrivaine de grand talent). If this setting is disabled, the corrector allows masculine forms of titles when they refer to a woman (e.g. Rose est un écrivain de grand talent).

  • This setting is enabled by default.

Flag abbreviated doublets (e.g. client(e)s)

Abbreviated doublets are sometimes used to represent both genders (e.g. client(e)) or both plural and singular (e.g. elle•s). However, they can complicate a text both visually and grammatically. What’s more, it is unclear how they should be pronounced. For these reasons, they are not recommended, regardless of the chosen format (parentheses, hyphens, etc.). You can choose whether Antidote flags them.

  • This setting is enabled by default.

Flag missing ne (e.g. j’aime pas)

The negative particle ne is often omitted when speaking, but this is not recommended in written language, unless the writer intends to represent informal speech. You can choose whether the Antidote flags instances of a missing ne.

  • This setting is enabled by default.
  • You can specifically prevent correction of missing ne in dialogues or quotes. See the setting Disable certain detections in dialogues and quotes in the General panel of the corrector’s settings.

Abbreviations that are usually non-standard (e.g. qqn)

Abbreviations such as qqn, (“quelqu’un”) and pquoi (“pourquoi”) speed up writing and may be used in some contexts. Otherwise, they are considered non-standard. You can choose whether the corrector replaces them with their unabbreviated forms or allows them.

  • This setting is enabled by default.

Flag the use of 2ème for 2e, 1ère for 1re

2ème and 1ère, as well as their plural variants, are not the recommended way to represent these ordinal numbers in French. You can choose whether the corrector allows them or replaces them with the correct forms 2e and 1re.

  • This setting is enabled by default.

Pronouns that can influence agreement

This setting instructs the corrector to flag the pronouns l’ and les when they may be part of an incorrect past participle agreement located further on in the sentence (e.g. La sœur de ton ami était tellement convaincante que je l’ai *engagé).

Pas participles agreeing with en

Traditionally, past participles do not inflect to agree with the antecedent of the pronoun en. However, this is becoming more and more common (e.g. des tartes, elle en a faites tout le weekend). You can choose whether Antidote flags this usage.

  • This setting is enabled by default.

Proper nouns in letter greetings

French typographic conventions require the omission of proper nouns in the greetings of letters. Checking this box tells the corrector to respect this convention.

  • This setting is enabled by default.

Missing ligatures œ and æ

French makes use of the œ and æ ligatures, which are often omitted by typists who do not know how to enter them on their keyboards. Antidote can fix this!

  • This setting is enabled by default.
  • On a Mac, the ligature œ (o + e) can be typed using the combination Alt + “q”, and æ (a + e) can be typed using the combination Alt + “a”. In Windows, the respective equivalents are Alt + 0156 and Alt + 0230.

Flag discontinuities of gender

Traditionally, adjectives that qualify coordinated nouns of mixed gender agree in the masculine. However, this formulation can look unusual when the final coordinated noun is feminine due to its proximity to the adjective that agrees in the masculine (le fils et la fille idéaux). The corrector can handle these discontinuities in one of three ways:

  • Ignore
  • Flag all discontinuities
  • Flag only audible discontinuities
    • By default, only audible discontinuities are flagged.

Accept proximity agreement

Proximity agreement is an approach to writing that requires any modifiers to agree with the nearest noun that they modify. This approach can favour inclusive writing, since the masculine form is no longer considered generic (e.g. les kiwis et les poires juteuses). Antidote will accept proximity agreement when this setting is enabled.

  • By default, this setting is not enabled and the generic masculine form is applied to coordinated nouns of mixed gender.

Disable certain detections by statistical filter

You can tell the corrector not to apply certain statistical filters that are intended to refine its analyses, but which may cause some errors to go undetected. This is done by unchecking the Disable box.

Lorsque, puisque and quoique

Finally, you can tell Antidote to verify the elision of the final vowel in the subordinate conjunctions lorsque, puisque and quoique. Here you have the choice of enforcing elision before all vowels or a silent h (which is the standard rule), or only before certain words (un, une, il, ils, elle, elles, on, en and ainsi).

User panel

First language

Antidote needs to know what your mother tongue is in order to fine-tune its correction. For example, if your first language is English, it will try to recognize certain mistakes that an English speaker is more likely to produce in French (e.g.: je *suis 34 ans, or être libre *faire qqch.).

  • When Antidote is first launched, a dialogue window asks you what your first language is. The value of this setting is adjusted according to your response.

Written French ability

Here you have the choice of three levels:

  • Minimum level (written French skills are rather weak): The corrector flags the standard set of errors, but includes certain errors that are somewhat rare.
  • Intermediate level (written French skills are quite good): The corrector flags the standard set of errors.
  • Maximum level (written French skills are very good): The corrector flags the standard set of errors, but does not indicate certain errors that an advanced speaker of French is unlikely to make.

Regional language variety

Antidote needs to know what region of the French-speaking world you live in, and asks you to select between Belgium, France, Quebec/Canada, Switzerland, Africa/Caribbean/Louisiana, and Other. The corrector’s suggestions are influenced by the linguistic region you indicate here. Some language and typography settings are also adjustable according to regional language variety, reflecting the preferred conventions in that area (for example, number formats, the type of spacing for use with symbols, etc.).

Regional words or senses

If this box is checked, Antidote will flag certain expressions that are unique to a particular linguistic region, depending on which of the following three settings you select using the sliders: minimum level (the corrector flags no regionalisms); intermediate level (a regionalism will be flagged if its regional character applies to all its meanings); and maximum level (a regionalism will be flagged if its regional character applies to at least one of its meanings). Antidote recognizes a large number of regionalisms from various parts of the French-speaking world, including those that are specific to Quebec (e.g.: achalant meaning “disturbing”); Belgium (e.g. fricadelle meaning “meatball”); Provence (e.g.: canier meaning “place where rushes grow”); and other French-speaking regions such as Switzerland and Acadia.

Protagonists panel

The corrector can use context to determine the gender of the French pronouns je, tu, nous and vous, and whether the pronouns nous and vous refer to one or several people. For example, in the expression Vous êtes gentille, the corrector can deduce that vous refers to one female person, because the adjective gentille is in the feminine singular form. However, you also have the option to manually determine the number and gender of people that these pronouns designate in your text. For example, if you designate tu as feminine, Antidote will correct the expression *Tu es gentil with Tu es gentille, and *Sois gentil with Sois gentille. By default, these settings are set to case-specific, meaning that gender and number correction will depend on the context. We recommend that you adjust the particular gender and number in the settings whenever possible.

Word usage panel

Register, inappropriate and offensive terms

Depending on your settings, the corrector will attempt to identify and assess the appropriateness of those terms that belong to the various registers that Antidote recognizes in French. These include offensive, e.g. merdeux for “voyou”; informal, e.g. fortiche for “habile”; slang, e.g. que dale for “rien”; formal, e.g. forfaire for “manquer à”; and old-fashioned, e.g. consomptueux for “atteint de tuberculose”.

The corrector will also flag terms that are considered highly offensive or inappropriate, in accordance with your settings. The French Module recognizes many different categories here, including the following: racist, e.g. youpin for “juif”; homophobic, e.g. pédé for “homosexual”; vulgar or blasphemous, e.g. merde for “excrément”; and sexual, e.g. bite for “pénis”.

For each of these registers, three settings are possible: minimum level (nothing is flagged); intermediate level (an expression is flagged if it belongs to this register in all its meanings); and maximum level (an expression is flagged if it belongs to this register in at least one of its meanings).

  • On installation, word usage settings are set to medium sensitivity (except those relating to Formal and Old-fashioned registers, which are set to minimum). To disable all these alerts without adjusting each slider to its minimum level, uncheck the general box at the top of the area.

Word choice panel

The French module recognizes three issues related to word choice: non-standard Anglicisms, lexical confusions and redundancies.

Non-standard Anglicisms

Not all borrowings from English should necessarily be avoided; much depends on whether an equivalent and appropriate term exists in French. Antidote focuses on those Anglicisms that are universally considered non-standard, and among these it can flag imported English words – Alerts for English words, e.g. container for “conteneur” – and multiword French expressions that are patterned on English phrases – Alerts for calques, e.g. manuel de service for “guide d’entretien”. In both cases, you have the option of automatically replacing the errors that Antidote flags by checking the Treat as errors box. Antidote also recognizes a large number of false friends – words in English and French that look or sound alike but differ significantly in meaning, e.g. librairie in French, which means “bookstore”, and library in English, which designates “a book-lending institution“. Here too you have the choice of three settings: minimum level (no false friends are flagged); intermediate level (the corrector flags the most frequent false friends); and maximum level (the corrector flags all potential false friends).

Lexical confusions

Antidote distinguishes three different types of lexical confusions: homophones, i.e. words that are pronounced alike but are spelled differently, e.g. ballade and balade; near-homophones (paronymes in French), i.e. words that have a similar pronunciation but a different meaning, e.g. luxurieux (meaning “lustful”) and luxuriant (meaning “lush”); and lexical choice errors, i.e. various types of incorrectly used words, e.g. téléphone for appel téléphonique. Once again, you have the choice of three levels of settings for these: minimum, intermediate and maximum.

There are two additional settings you can activate in this panel: non-standard words, for certain terms and expressions that some linguistic authorities find objectionable, e.g. ceci dit for cela dit; and rare words, which tells Antidote to flag certain rare words which may have been entered inadvertently in place of a more frequent word, e.g. paissance (“grazing”) might be a typing error for naissance, puissance, plaisance, etc.


A redundancy is an expression that is repetitive in terms of its meaning, e.g. dire verbalement, which translates as “say verbally” in English. Some redundancies are universally criticized, while others are considered less serious (e.g. devoir obligatoirement). Here again, you can choose between three levels of settings: minimum level (nothing is flagged); intermediate level (the corrector flags those redundancies which are widely criticized, but not those that are less serious); and maximum level (widely criticized and less serious redundancies are flagged).

  • By default, the setting for redundancies is adjusted to intermediate level.

Capital letters panel

Flag unknown capitalized words

If this box is checked, all words beginning with a capital letter which are not in Antidote’s dictionaries are flagged. There is also an option – only the first time – which tells the corrector to do so only on the first occurrence of the word.

Flag words whose meaning changes with capitalization

If this box is checked, the corrector flags words whose meaning changes when they are capitalized, e.g. renaissance, which signifies “a revival”, as opposed to Renaissance, which designates a particular period of history.

Flag possibly incorrect demonyms

If this box is checked, Antidote will verify the capitalization of demonyms, i.e. those words which designate the inhabitants of a country or a region. In French, the same word may sometimes refer to an inhabitant (e.g. Zorba le Grec), or to the language spoken in the inhabitant’s region (Zorba parle le grec). In the first case, the noun should be capitalized; in the second case, it should not.

Allow capital letters missing accents

If this box is checked, Antidote will allow words containing a non-accented capital, e.g. Eveil. Note the typographic standard normally requires an accent on capital letters, e.g. Éveil.

Allow capital letters after “;”

If this box is checked, Antidote will allow a capital letter following a colon, even when the context suggests that a lowercase letter would be preferred.

Allow unknown words at the beginning of a sentence

Words that begin a sentence should start with a capital letter regardless of their syntactic category (e.g. Enfants et parents s’amusent. Joël s’amuse.). Should the first word in a sentence be unknown to Antidote’s dictionaries (e.g. Julian s’amuse.), the corrector may hesitate between flagging it as a unknown proper noun (the first name Julian) and attempting to correct it for a word that it knows (the first name Julien instead of Julian). You can choose which approach Antidote should take.

  • This setting is disabled by default (Antidote attempts to correct these words).

Punctuation panel

Comma before mais or car

If this box is checked, the corrector will flag a missing comma before “mais” or “car”, e.g.: Le site était inauguré en 1987 mais on l’a fermé l’année d’après par manque de fonds. A comma is normally required in this context, except if the subordinate clause introduced by these conjunctions is very short, in which case the comma is optional.

Other commas

You can tell Antidote to flag the absence of a comma in a number of other contexts, e.g. after an adverbial complement in sentence-initial position. Here too there is a three-position slider allowing you to adjust the sensitivity of the setting.

Allow declarative interrogatives

If this box is checked, the corrector will allow a question mark at the end of a sentence that doesn’t include a question word or subject-verb inversion, e.g. Tu viens? This is more characteristic of speech, and may not be considered acceptable when written.

Role of square brackets in the sentence

If the box Text added by a third party is checked, the corrector will analyze the text contained within brackets as being part of the larger sentence. This setting is recommended when brackets are used to frame text that comes from someone else.

Spelling rectifications panel

Require traditional spellings

If this box is checked, the corrector will flag all words with rectified spelling and suggest the traditional spelling in their place. In the dictionaries, Antidote shows traditional spellings where applicable.

Require rectified spellings

If this box is checked, the corrector will flag all words with traditional spelling and suggest the rectified spelling in their place. In the dictionaries, Antidote shows rectified spellings where applicable.

Accept both spellings

If this box is checked, Antidote will allow both spellings in all its components. If a word in rectified spelling is entered in a search box, all the generated forms will be rectified, and if a word in traditional spelling is entered, all the generated forms will be traditional.

  • You may also tell Antidote which spelling to prefer in cases of ambiguity.