Making French Words Plural In 5 Easy Ways

Making French Words Plural

Making French words plural is an essential skill to learn. Knowing how to form plural words in French will give you confidence when speaking or writing, as you will better understand the language and its rules. It also allows you to better understand and use French vocabulary in both written and spoken language.

Fortunately, making nouns plural is pretty easy.


Making French Words Plural: Basic Rules

If you are reading or listening to something in French, recognizing and understanding plural words will help you comprehend the meaning of the sentence or text. For example, you could misunderstand what others want if you can’t understand when someone uses French nouns in the plural.

In French, most nouns are made plural by adding -s to the singular form. This is the general rule.

Here are some examples of plural nouns:

  1. le livre (the book) / les livres (the books)
  2. la pomme (the apple) / les pommes (the apples)
  3. le chien (the dog) / les chiens (the dogs)
  4. la maison (the house) / les maisons (the houses)
  5. le chat (the cat) / les chats (the cats)
  6. la rue (the street) / les rues (the streets)
  7. le livre (the book) / les livres (the books)
  8. le sac (the bag) / les sacs (the bags)
  9. le garçon (the boy) / les garçons (the boys)
  10. la fille (the girl) / les filles (the girls)


Exceptions When Making Plurals In French

Making French Words Plural

There are some exceptions to this general rule, where a singular noun’s ending will tell you how to make it plural. Therefore, you must memorize the word endings that constitute the exceptions.

Here is how to make French nouns plural in case of exceptions:

Noun Ending In -s, -x, or -z

The Nouns ending in -s, -x, or -z do not change in the plural form.

For example, le bus (the bus) becomes les bus (the buses).

Nouns Ending In -au, -eu, or -eau

These nouns add -x in the plural form.

For example, le chapeau (the hat) becomes les chapeaux (the hats).

Nouns Ending In -al

These nouns change -al to -aux in the plural form.

For example, le journal (the newspaper) becomes les journaux (the newspapers).

Nouns Ending In -ail

To make French nouns ending in -ail plural, you add -s to the end of the word.

Here are some examples:

  • Le détail (the detail) / Plural: les détails (the details)
  • Le portail (the gate) / Plural: les portails (the gates)

But be careful, some French nouns ending in -ail are exceptions to this rule and have irregular plural forms, so it’s essential to memorize the plural form of each noun individually. That is the case of “travail” which is one of these exceptions, as its plural form is “travaux.”

Here are some more examples of French nouns ending in -ail with irregular plural forms:

  • le travail (the work) / Plural: les travaux (the works)
  • le corail (the coral) / Plural: les coraux (the corals)
  • le soupirail (the basement window) / Plural: les soupiraux (the basement windows)
  • le vitrail (the stained-glass window) / Plural: les vitraux (the stained-glass windows)
  • le portail (the gate) / Plural: les portails (the gates)

As you can see, while most French nouns ending in -ail follow the regular rule of adding -s to form the plural, some exceptions, like “travail,” require memorization of their irregular plural forms.

Nouns Ending In -euil

These nouns add -s in the plural form.

For example, le seuil (the threshold) becomes les seuils (the thresholds).

Nouns Ending In -ou

These nouns add -s in the plural form.

For example, le clou (the nail) becomes les clous (the nails).

Irregular Nouns

As we said, some nouns have irregular plural forms that you’ll have to memorize. For example, le cheval (the horse) becomes les chevaux (the horses).

It’s important to note that the plural form of a noun can also change depending on the gender of the noun (i.e., whether it is masculine or feminine).

Here are some French plural examples that are exceptions to these rules:

  • le chat (the cat) / les chats (the cats)
  • la fleur (the flower) / les fleurs (the flowers)
  • le livre (the book) / les livres (the books)
  • le chapeau (the hat) / les chapeaux (the hats)
  • le journal (the newspaper) / les journaux (the newspapers)
  • le travail (the work) / Plural: les travaux (the works)
  • la souris (the mouse) / les souris (the mice)
  • l’animal (animal) / Les animaux (animals)
  • le cheval (the horse) / les chevaux (the horses)
  • la voiture (the car) / les voitures (the cars)
  • le jeu (game) /les jeux (games)


Are These Rules Applicable Only To A French Noun?

Making French Words Plural

Plural rules in French apply not only to nouns but also to adjectives and articles, which must agree in gender and number with the noun they modify.

This means that the French plural nouns will also affect the forms of the adjectives and articles that describe them.

For example, if you have the singular noun “un livre” (a book), the article “un” is singular masculine, and if you were to add the adjective “rouge” (red) it should also be singular masculine.

But if you want to make the plural form, you must change the article and the adjective.

In the plural noun “des livres” (some books), the article “des” becomes plural, and when adding the adjective “rouges,” it must also change to match the noun, resulting in “des livres rouges” (some red books).

Similarly, if you have the singular feminine noun “une pomme” (an apple), the article “une” is singular feminine, and the adjective “rouge” should also be singular feminine.

So, when forming plurals in French, it’s important to remember that adjectives and articles must also agree in gender and number with the noun they modify.


Learn French With The Ling App

Learn French with Ling app

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Also, to know more about the French language, check out our great blog posts: Beautiful Compliments In French and Hobbies In French.

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