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.
Follow the series:
- How to Form the Plural in French – Part 2 of 4
- How to Form the Plural in French – Part 3 of 4
- How to Form the Plural in French – Part 4 of 4
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