Plural of nouns and adjectives in French
The plural in French
Main rule of the plural
Les règles du pluriel sont les mêmes pour les noms et les adjectifs.
The rules of the plural the same for the nouns and the adjectives.
The main thing to know is that we add an “s” at the end for the plural.
On ajoute un “s” au pluriel.
Par exemple :
- Un ordinateur puissant / Des ordinateurs puissants
- A powerful computer / Powerful computers
So there you can notice that, in French, when the noun is in the plural the adjective is also in the plural.
We say that the adjective agrees with the noun.
L’adjectif s’accorde en genre* et en nombre* avec le nom.
*Genre means gender and corresponds to the masculine or feminine forms.
* Nombre means numbre and corresponds to the singular or plural form.
So, it’s very different from the English because in English the adjective doesn’t change.
You need also to notice that we don’t pronounce the final “s”, contrary to the English.
Another thing to know is that when you have two singular nouns the adjectives is in the plural form. For example:
- Une imprimante et un ordinateur compatibles
We have an “s” at the end because “compatible” is specifying “imprimante” and “ordinateur”.
These are the main things to understand and if you have understood that you have understood 90 percent of the lesson.
Therefore, you can stop watching here.
For those who want to go further, in the rest of the lesson we will talk about the specific case.
First special case : no change
When you already have an “s” ending the singular form or a “z” or an “x“, you don’t add an “s” in the plural. That would be odd.
For example :
- Un prix / des prix (and not des prixs)
- Un gaz dangereux / des gaz dangereux (and not des gazs dangereuxs)
Second special case: we add an “x”
Sometimes instead of adding “s” in the plural we add an “x”.
Remember that they are quite rare and they don’t represent the majority of the plural.
- We add an “x” with nouns ending with “eu”.
- Un neveu / des neveux
- Un feu / des feux
- Un jeu / des jeux
These words are nouns.
Most of the adjectives ending with “eu” have already an “x” in the singular so they don’t change in the plural.
- Un neveu capricieux / des neveux capricieux
- Un feu dangereux / des feux dangereux
- Un jeu sérieux / des jeux sérieux
Let’s have a look to the feminine form:
- Une histoire sérieuse / des histoires sérieuses.
For the feminine form you need to put an “s” at the end of the plural. It’s logical because the singular ends with “e”.
- We add an “x” with few nouns ending with “ou”
For the majority of the words ending with “ou” we add an “s” for the plural, so it’s the normal rule. But for some of these words we had an “x”:
- Un bijou / des bijoux
- Un caillou / des cailloux
- Un chou / des choux
- Un genou / des genoux
- Un hibou / des hiboux
- Un pou / des poux
And same as before, the adjectives ending with “ou” already have an “x” at the end, so we don’t change them:
- Un hibou jaloux / Des hiboux jaloux
- We add an “x” for all the words ending with “(e)au”
- Un beau bateau / de beaux bateaux
Third special case: “al” becomes “aux”
I will finish with a category that is quite frequent: words ending with “al” have their plural in “aux”.
- Un cheval original / Des chevaux originaux
- Un journal local / Des journaux locaux
I’ll give you four nouns and four adjectives that don’t follow this rule:
- Un bal / des bals
- Un carnaval / des carnavals
- Un festival / des festivals
- Un récital / des récitals
These words are all connected to the universe of the party, the celebrations.
- Banal / banals
- Fatal / fatals
- Naval / navals
- Natal / natals
I could not find a real connection in term of meaning between these last 4 words, if you have an idea let me know
We can notice though, that they have the same structure “-a-al”.
Voilà, I hope you’ve understood this long lesson.
You can learn this step by step by practicing.
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