French Grammar: Singular and Plural Nouns

FRNGrammarSingularPluralNouns

French Grammar: Singular and Plural Nouns
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French Grammar: Singular and Plural Nouns

la grammaire française: les substantifs singuliers et pluriels

Nouns (les substantifs) are people, places, and things. They have names! You can talk about one noun (singular) or many nouns (plural). You’ll need to learn to use nouns if you want to talk about people, places and things!

Study:

All French nouns (les substantifs) have a number.  This simply means that they are either SINGULAR or PLURAL.

If there is only one noun (substantif) being talked about, the noun is SINGULAR.

If there is more than one noun (substantif) being talked about, then the noun is PLURAL.

Be careful! Sometimes words in French have a change in spelling when they change from singular to plural. In order to make singular nouns into plural nouns, follow this guide!

MAKING SINGULAR NOUNS PLURAL:

(a) For most nouns : Add an “s” to the singular form to make the noun plural.
(NOTE: the final ‘-s’ is almost always silent in French.)

un stylo : a pen
des stylos : some pens

un livre : a book
des livres : some books

un cinéma : a movie theater
des cinémas : some movie theaters

un professeur : a professor
des professeurs : some professors

un chien : a dog
des chiens: some dogs

un éléphant : an elephant
des éléphants : some elephants

(b) If the noun ends in letter –s, –x,  or –z : There is no change from the singular form to the plural form

un bras : an arm
des bras : some arms

un choix : a choice
des choix : some choices

un nez : a nose
des nez : some noses

(c) If the singular noun form ends in –eau or –eu : Add an –x in order to form the plural.

un château : a castle
des châteaux : some castles

un neveu : nephew
des neveux : nephews

(d) If the singular noun form ends in –al : Drop the –al and replace it with –aux to form the plural.

un animal : an animal
des animaux : some animals

un cheval : a horse
des chevaux : some horses

un journal : a newspaper
des journaux : some newspapers

(e) Some nouns have irregular plural forms.  These just have to be memorized.

un oeil : an eye
des yeux : some eyes

monsieur : Mr. / Sir / a man
messieurs : men

madame : Mrs. / Ma’am / a lady / a woman
mesdames : ladies / women

mademoiselle : Miss / a young lady / a young woman
mesdemoiselles : young ladies / young women

A few French nouns are used mainly in the plural form, and rarely in the singular form.

les gens : people

les lunettes : eyeglasses

les mathématiques / les maths : mathematics / math

les sciences : science

les vacances : vacation

(f) Family names do NOT add an –s in the plural.  Instead, the definite article ‘LES’ is used before the family name.

la famille Dupont : the Dupont family
les Dupont : the Duponts

la famille Maubrey : the Maubrey family
les Maubrey : the Maubreys

Adapt:

Vous avez un livre?

Do you (formal) have a book?

Oui, j’ai deux livres.

Yes, I have two books.

Il y a une chaise dans la classe?

Is there a chair in the class?

Oui, il y a beaucoup de chaises dans la classe.

Yes, there are many chairs in the class.

Il y a un professeur d’anglais ici?

Is there an English professor here?

Oui, il y a trois professeurs d’anglais ici.

Yes, there are three English professors here.

Tu as un stylo?

Do you (informal) have a pen?

Oui, j’ai beaucoup de stylos.

Yes, I have a lot of pens.

Bonsoir, mesdames et messieurs!
Good evening, ladies and gentlemen!

Votre famille passe les vacances aux montagnes?

Does your (formal) family spend vacation in the mountains?

Non, ma famille passe toujours les vacances à la plage.

No, my family always spends vacation at the beach.

Ton frère étudie les sciences?

Does your (informal) brother study science?

Oui, mon frère étudie les sciences et les maths.

Yes, my brother studies science and math.

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