Easy Learning French

Forming plurals - Easy Learning Grammar French

1 Plurals ending in -s

  • In English we usually make nouns plural by adding an -s to the end(gardengardens; househouses), although we do have some nouns which are irregular and do not follow this pattern (mousemice; childchildren).
TipRemember that you have to use les with plural nouns in French. Any adjective that goes with the noun has to agree with it, as does any pronoun that replaces it.
  • Most French nouns also form their plural by adding an -s to their singular form.
un jardina garden
des jardinsgardens
une voiturea car
des voiturescars
un hôtela hotel
des hôtelshotels
  • If the singular noun ends in -s, -x or -z, no further -s is added in the plural.
un filsa son
des filssons
une voixa voice
des voixvoices
un neza nose
des neznoses

2 Plurals ending in -x

  • The following nouns add an -x instead of an -s in the plural:
  • nouns ending in -eau
un chapeaua hat
des chapeauxhats
  • most nouns ending in -eu
un jeua game
des jeuxgames
  • a FEW nouns ending in -ou (MOST nouns ending in -ou add -s as usual)
un bijoua jewel
des bijouxjewels
un cailloua pebble
des caillouxpebbles
un choua cabbage
des chouxcabbages
un genoua knee
des genouxknees
un hibouan owl
des hibouxowls
un joujoua toy
des joujouxtoys
un poua louse
des pouxlice
TipAdding an -s or -x to the end of a noun does not usually change the way the word is pronounced. For example, professeur and professeurs and chapeau and chapeaux sound just the same when you say them out loud.
  • If the singular noun ends in -al or -ail, the plural usually ends in -aux.
un journala newspaper
des journauxnewspapers
un animalan animal
des animauxanimals
un travaila job
des travauxjobs
TipThe plural of un œil (an eye) is des yeux (eyes).

3 Plural versus singular

  • A few words relating to clothing are plural in English but NOT in French.
un slippants
un shortshorts
un pantalontrousers
  • A few common words are plural in French but NOT in English.
les affairesbusiness
les cheveuxhair
des renseignementsinformation
Grammar Extra!When nouns are made up of two separate words, they are called compound nouns, for example, les grands-parents (meaning grandparents), des ouvre-boîtes (meaning tin-openers). The rules for forming the plural of compound nouns are complicated and it is best to check in a dictionary to see what the plural is.
Key points
  • Most French nouns form their plural by adding an -s to their singular form. If the singular noun ends in -s, -x or -z, no further-s is added in the plural.
  • Most nouns ending in -eau or -eu add an -x in the plural.
  • Most nouns ending in -ou take an -s in the plural, with a few exceptions.
  • If the singular noun ends in -al or -ail, the plural usually ends in-aux.
  • Adding an -s or -x to the end of a noun does not generally affect the way the word is pronounced.
  • A few common words are plural in English but not in French, and vice versa.

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