How to Translate French Words into Plural Form

Lettres

It is not difficult to learn how to translate french words to plural form. As in any other language, you must learn some basic rules, as well as the exceptions and you will be able to speak and write accurately.

When and How to Translate French Words to the Plural Form

In the French language nouns can be masculine or feminine, singluar or plural. Nouns usually must agree in gender le genre as well as number le nombre.

Le pluriel is used when referring to more than one thing or person. There are plural nouns noms, pronouns pronoms, articles articles and adjectives adjectifs.

One of the very first things you learn in French is that there are singular and plural articles and pronouns. The singular masculin article is le, the singular feminine article is la. The plural of both is les.

The singular pronouns are je (I), tu (you), il(he) and elle (she). The plural pronouns are:

  • vous (you)
  • nous (we)
  • ils(they, masculine)
  • elles(they, feminine)

If you are referring to a group of men and women, you would use ils.

Plural of Adjectives and Nouns

In general, in order to form the plural you add an s to all words except words that already end in s, x, or z in their singular form.

Regular Adjectives and Nouns
Singular Plural
la carte(the card) les cartes
petite(small) petites
le vers(the verse) le vers
malheureux(unhappy) malheureux
le nez(the nose) les nez

Irregular Plurals

Some French words require that you change the ending completely.

aux and x endings

Some words that end in al become aux in the plural form.

al to aux
Singular Plural
journal journaux
animal animaux
royal royaux
spécial spéciaux
radical radicaux

There are some exceptions to this rule. The following are examples of words that end in al but take an s:

  • bal(s)
  • banal(s)
  • festival(s)
  • banal(s)
  • final(s)

Some words that end in ail become aux in the plural form. For example travail (work) becomes travaux. On the other hand other words that end in ail take an s such as détail (detail) which becomes détails.

Words with the following endings take x instead of s when they become plural:

  • bijou becomes bijoux (jewerly)
  • rideau becomes rideaux (curtains)
  • neveu becomes neveux(nephews)
  • noyau becomes noyaux(stones, pits)

The exceptions are bleu(s) (blue) and pneux(s)(tire)

Extremely Irregular Plurals

Some words are very irregular but are then easy to memorize:

  • oeil (eye) becomes yeux
  • ciel (sky) becomes cieux
  • monsieur becomes messieurs
  • madame becomes mesdames
  • mademoiselle becomes mesdemoiselles

Compound Words

There are some special rules for words that are formed by putting two separate words together with an - in between. Usually if the compound word consists of a preposition or a verb those words do not change form. For example:

  • Le gratte-ciel de New York sont plus hauts que ceux de Los Angeles. (The skyscrapers in New York are higher than those in Los Angeles.)
  • Elles passent leur aprés-midi à la campagne.(They spent their afternoon in the country.)

Compound words formed by adjectives and nouns do change form.

English Words in French

There are many English words that have been adopted by the French language. In order to make these words plural add an s or es:

  • supermarché becomes supermarchés
  • sandwich becomes sandwiches
  • pique-nique becomes pique-niques''

Words That Do Not Change Form

Some words never become plural such as family names or surnames, for example Les Bresson. The exception is for the name of the royal family like Les Bourbons.Some words are always plural such as vacances (vacation) and mathématiques (mathematics).

It is not at all difficult to learn how to translate french words to plural form once you learn your vocabulary and the rules and exceptions.

Was this page useful?
How to Translate French Words into Plural Form