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Plural of French nouns

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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. 

enlightenedPlease note that nouns, which already end in -s in the singular form, don't change in the plural. 

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Examples for nouns ending in -s

 Singular Plural Translation
 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
 monsieur messieurs misters
 madame mesdames ladies
 mademoiselle mesdemoiselles mademoiselle
 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


 l'appareil photo

 la station-service

 les appareils photo

 les stations-service

 the cameras

 the gas stations

 le grand-père

 la belle-mère

 les grands-pères

 les belles-mères

 the grandparents

 the mothers-in-law

 le faire-parte

 le laisser-passer

 les faire-part

 les laisser-passer

 the announcements

 the passports

 un après-midi

 un hors-d'oeuvre

 les après-midi

 les hors-d'oeuvre

 the afternoons

 the appetizers

enlightenedPlease 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. 

enlightenedBear 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

Singular PluralTranslation
 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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Fill in the blank exercise about the plural of French nouns

Quiz about the plural of French nouns

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