Words that have these endings in the singular are the same in the plural:
le corps = body
les corps = bodies
la voix = voice
les voix = voices
le nez = nose
les nez = noses
Can you think of more French words that end in s, x, or z in the singular?
Other words are just unusual in how the plural is formed:
oeil = eye
yeux = eyes
monsieur = mister, sir, gentleman
messieurs = sirs, gentlemen
madame = Mrs., ma’am, lady
mesdames = ladies
There are exceptions, though, which can make English a complicated language to learn.
Here are some examples of irregular plurals in English:
Just as there are different ways to show the plural in English, there are also different ways to show the plural in French.
One of the commonest of these is to add x instead of s at the end of a word. Here are some examples in French: Continue reading →
Thankfully for those English speakers who are trying to learn French, the most common way to form the plural (showing more than one of something) in French is also the easiest! It is the same as in English, just add s!
Before we get too excited, though, there are some other things we need to remember!
The final s that we add in English is pronounced. It can be pronounced like s, as in cups, or like z, as in birds, but it is spoken aloud to let the listener know that the speaker is referring to more than one of a particular thing.
French isn’t quite so obvious. The final s is added, yes, but this s is not usually pronounced. French lets you know the noun is plural by the article (like the or a in English) that goes with it, either les or des.
The English equivalent would be either the, which doesn’t tell how many in English, or some or any, which also doesn’t necessarily say a lot about quantity: “I would like some orange juice, please.”
les = the
des = some, any
la tasse (la TAS) = the cup
les tasse (lay TAS) = the cups
une tasse (eeoon* TAS) = a cup, one cup
des tasses (day TAS) = some cups, any cups
Paul veut une tasse de café. Avez-vous des tasses?
= Paul wants a cup of coffee. Do you have any cups?
So remember to use les or des to show the plural when you are speaking.
*This French u sound can be tricky to pronounce! Hold your tongue and teeth like you are saying “ee” and your lips like you are saying “oo” in food.
Instead of having a separate pronoun such as it to refer to things, French uses il (he, it) to replace masculine nouns and elle (she, it) to replace feminine nouns.
The book is black. It is black.
Le livre est noir. Il est noir.
The tomato is red. It is red.
La tomate est rouge. Elle est rouge
Plural nouns follow the same pattern.
The bananas are yellow. They are yellow.
Les bananas sont jaunes. Elles sont jaunes.
The pencils are green. They are green.
Les crayons sont verts. Ils sont verts.
Notice that the colour words must be plural if the noun that they describe is plural!
Most French nouns form the plural by adding “s” at the end, just like in English. Because this final “s” is not usually pronounced in French, The plural must also be indicated by the accompanying article.
le chien (the dog), les chiens (the dogs)
un chien (a dog), des chiens (dogs, or some dogs)
Words that end in “eau” add “x” instead of “s.”
le chapeau (the hat), les chapeaux (the hats)
un chapeau (a hat), des chapeaux (hats, or some hats)