I know that both facade and façade are valid in British English. Is that also true for American English? Or should facade be used when writing something for American customers?

This is something that gets used in a Luminaire catalog, and I just stumbled over the French ç in the American version.

  • 3
    M-W lists both variants -- both are valid.
    – z7sg Ѫ
    Commented Nov 9, 2011 at 16:56

5 Answers 5


According to Google ngrams, "facade" is far more popular than "façade". So I would just write "facade" unless you want to emphasize the "Frenchness" for stylistic or marketing reasons.

ngram comparison showing facade as far more popular

  • 11
    While I agree, it is important to note that those results are generated by computer scanning, which is likely to understand "ç" as "c", which is exactly what happened in this case: books.google.com/… (and probably many others)
    – yoozer8
    Commented Nov 9, 2011 at 14:26
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    Note: "façade" appears in ~1M titles according to google books.
    – Unreason
    Commented Nov 9, 2011 at 14:40
  • @Jim: It's true, there will be lots of cases of bad OCR. But I tried searching the Corpus of Contemporary American English and it had zero hits for "façade" so I just went with ngrams. Commented Nov 9, 2011 at 16:40
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    I would hazard a guess that the "facade" variant has become more popular simply because it's easier to type; one has to jump through hoops in order to access characters containing a cedilla, etc., in my experience at least.
    – paul
    Commented Feb 21, 2015 at 15:43
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    @paul while I'm sure the accent's absence from typical US English keyboards doesn't help the situation, I think it's also fair to say that most English speakers just don't use accents or other diacritics at all on any words. There are fewer and fewer cases where you could argue that a diacritic is allowed, let alone required. Anglicized words usually drop them and most native speakers are unsure of how to use them. That is the reason why the keyboard doesn't make it easy to write them: they aren't really part of standard English. Commented Feb 21, 2015 at 16:20

The cedilla (ç) beneath the letter ‘c’ is used in French to show that it is to be pronounced as /s/ and not as /k/. Most French people will know that anyway, so it is as otiose in French as it certainly is in English. Since facade is now an English word as much as it is a French one, there’s no need to follow French practice.

  • It's no more or less otiose than the other French diacritical marks. Certainly the first time I read the word I wasn't sure how to pronounce it so the cedilla would have helped.
    – z7sg Ѫ
    Commented Nov 9, 2011 at 15:25
  • It's often difficult to know how to pronounce any new word, with or without diacritics. The answer is available in most dictionaries. Where a French word has not become completely anglicized, then it may be usual to retain the accents, as in, for example, 'dénouement'. The only fully anglicized French word I can think in which the accent is shown more often than not is 'café'. Commented Nov 9, 2011 at 16:11
  • You are making unsubstantiated claims about usage.
    – z7sg Ѫ
    Commented Nov 9, 2011 at 17:01
  • 1
    cafe > café
    – Hugo
    Commented Nov 9, 2011 at 17:39
  • Alternatively, 'kaff'. Commented Nov 10, 2011 at 8:00

The cedilla helps, imo. Just reading the replies above made me think... hmm... "facade"... hmm, is that faKade? a secret move in fencing?

then I looked for examples that would leave us wondering whether the sound should be "ss" or "k". Thought of "percutant", French for "percussive". The plain "c" indicates the need to pronounce correctly: "perKutant". And no need to know the word or be familiar with a word to pronounce it correctly. No faKade, no perSSutant, all is fine.

Note: I put in two "s" in examples because in French, one "s" only inside a word is often if not most of the time pronounced as /z/ : crise (crisis) pronounced with "z" sound. Bise (greeting kiss) same thing. Mise (placing) same again.

sorry for butting in, these are thoughts that occurred to me as I was passing by. This site was useful, I have bookmarked it. :-) A native French-speaker who also loves English.


Yes, much as people still spell café with an accent. Cafe without the accent just isn´t the same. We all know, French or otherwise, that that last e must be stressed because the accent is there. Otherwise we would just say caff or caif.


There is no need or purpose for using the French cedilla in the English word FACADE. Yes, the French word is, and has been, English for a long time. So it's just a pretension at this point, and functionally unnecessary since we know how to pronounce the word through usage.


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