How To Make Nouns Plural in French.

Nov 10, 2021

Today we are looking at how to make French nouns plural. I am sure you will find the differences both surprising and interesting.

Let's begin.

Nouns in French can either be singular (referring to one person, place or thing) or plural(referring to two or more nouns).

To form the plural of most nouns, add an -s  to the singular form eg un livre(a book) _ des livres(books) .

Some nouns that do not follow this pattern and change their endings completely eg un jounal(newspaper)_ des jounaux(newspapers).

One important thing to note is that , when changing the noun to plural, the accompanying article must also change to agree with the noun in number, eg un pays becomes des pays and un oeil becomes des yeux.

Nouns that form their plurals by adding an -s to their singular form.

Most nouns in French fall under this category :

Singular Plural
Une voiture des voitures
Un livre des livres
Un jardin des jardins

Nouns that form their plural by adding an -x

The following nouns add an -x to form their plural.

Nouns that end in -eau

Un chapeau(a hat) des chapeaux (hats)
Un bateau(a boat) des bateaux (boats)
Un cadeau (a gift) des cadeaux (gifts)
Un château(a castle) des châteaux castles)
Un manteau( a coat) des manteaux (coats)

Most nouns ending in -eu

Singular Plural
Un jeu des jeux
Un cheveu des cheveux
Un neveu des neveux

Few nouns ending in -ou (most add -s)

Singular Plural
Un genou(knee) des genoux (knees)
Un chou(cabbage) des choux(cabbages)
Un joujou(toy) des joujoux(toys)
Un bijou (jewel) des bijoux(jewels)

When a singular noun ends in -s,-x,or -z, it generally does not add an -s in the plural form. Note that although the noun itself remains the same, the article must change to reflect its number.

Un pays(country) des pays(countries)
Le héros (hero) Les héros (heros)
Le bras(arm) les bras(arms)
Une voix(voice) des voix(voices)
L'ananas(pinapple) les ananas(pinapples)
Le bus(bus) les bus(buses)
La croix(cross) Les croix(crosses)
Le tapis(rug) les tapis (rugs)

Nouns that end in -al or ail form their plural form by replacing -al or -ail with - aux

Singular Plural
L'animal(animal) Les animaux (animals)
L'hôpital(hospital) Les hopitaux(hospitals)
Un journal(newspaper) des journaux (newspapers)
Un travail (job,work) des travaux(jobs)

Some exceptions are:

Singular Plural
Le final(final) les finals.(finals)
Le festival(festival) Les festivals (festivals)
Le carnaval(carnival) Les carnavals(carnival)
Un rail(rail) des rails(rails)

Some differences between English and French nouns.

In French, family names do not add -s as they do in English
Les Gerald ( The Geralds)
Les Robert  (The Roberts)

Some words are plural in French but not in English

Les cheveux hair
Des renseignements information
Les affaires business
Les devoir homework
Les jeunes the young

Others are singular in French but plural in English

Un escalier stairs
Un slip. pants
Un pantalon. trousers
Un short shorts

I hope you find this as a comprehensive guide to your continued journey of learning French.

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I write about English and French, how to apply them professionally and in social encounters.