Plural of French nouns
In every European language we have to differ between Singular (French: le singulier) and Plural (French: le pluriel). In French however we have to distinguish between different plural forms:
- Plural nouns that end in -s
- Plural nouns that end in -x
- Irregular plural nouns
Plural nouns ending in -s
Similar to the English language most nouns form the plural by adding -s to the singular. But different from the English language, the -s at the end of the noun isn't supposed to be pronounced.
Please note that nouns, which already end in -s in the singular form, don't change in the plural.
Examples for nouns ending in -s
|une voiture||deux voitures||two cars|
|un vélo||deux vélos||two bicycles|
|une rue||deux rues||two streets|
|un pays||deux pays||two countries|
|un repas||deux repas||two meals|
Plural nouns ending in -x
Only a certain number of French nouns end in -x in the plural form.
The plural ending form in -x is used for:
- all nouns that end in -au or -eau
- nearly all nouns that end in -eu
- some nouns that end -ou in plural
- most nouns that end in -al and -ail have the ending -aux
Examples for nouns ending in -x
|le bateau||beaucoup de bateaux||a lot of boats|
|le cheveu||beaucoup de cheveux||much hair|
|le genou||les genoux||knees|
Irregular plural nouns
Some nouns have an irregular plural. These include nouns ending in -eu, -al, -eau, -ail and some nouns ending in -ou.
|l'os||les os||the bones|
|les ciseaux||des pires de ciseaux||the scissors|
|les lunettes||des paires de lunettes||the glasses|
Plural of compound nouns
When nouns are made up of two separate words, they are called compound nouns, for example, les grands-parents (meaning grandparents) or des ouvre-boites (meaning tinopeners).
The rules for forming the plural of compound nouns are a bit complicated:
- If two nouns are connected, only the first noun is set in plural.
- If an adjective is connected with a noun, both are changed in the plural.
- If a verb is connected with a noun or another verb, both stay unchanged.
- Also if a preposition is connected with a noun, both stay unchanged.
Examples for compound nouns in the plural
les appareils photo
the gas stations
| le grand-père
| les après-midi
Please note that compound nouns, which are written together, receive an additional -s in the plural.
Plural of surnames
In general you don't add an additional -s at the end of last names in French. But usually it's not considered as a mistake if you do so.
Bear in mind that it's common to add an -s at the end of royal family names or pieces of art.
Examples for surnames in the plural
|Madame Bernard||les Bernard(s)||the Bernards|
|la famille Dupont||les Dupont(s)||the Duponts|
|Ce musée possède plusieurs Renoirs et Picassos.||Ce musée possède plusieurs Renoirs et Picassos.||This museum owns a lot of Renoirs and Picassos.|
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