In essays, or writing in general, is it more acceptable to include or leave out accents in French words (or even natively accented words in general)?

For example, would I say

The bread was served à la carte.


The bread was served a la carte.

The same thing applies to naïve vs. naive.

Does it depend on whether the word is commonplace or not? Meaning, French words integrated with English don't need to be spelled with accents, but more obscure words do? Does using an accent for a common French word in English seem pretentious?

  • 1
    I think accents are becoming less commonplace due to the advent of the electronic medium. It's trivial to add an accent when you're using a pen. Not so when you've got a keyboard. The only places I'm inclined to invariably include the accents are cases where the accent-less version could be confused for another word: résumé, for instance.
    – Tushar Raj
    Jan 19 '17 at 5:56
  • 1
    Accents are generally preferred but it isn't a grievous sin to omit them in most situations unless as Tushar Raj notes, it makes the meaning unclear.
    – ohwilleke
    Jan 19 '17 at 6:50
  • I believe you are more likely to see them in Britain, where historically, French has been taught as a first foreign language. Just as, I suppose, in the United States, you are more likely to see the Spanish tilde on words like señor, even to the extent of having one on the keyboard.
    – WS2
    Jan 19 '17 at 10:27