French Plural Nouns

Instructor: Kevin Newton

Kevin has edited encyclopedias, taught middle and high school history, and has a master's degree in Islamic law.

Without the ability to make nouns plural, your ability in French, or any language for that matter, is sorely limited. However, this lesson is here to help, explaining the rules of making nouns plural in French.

Making Nouns Plural

Like any other language, French has plurals. After all, while we may be content talking about one house or even one car, many of us will want more than one grape when it comes time to eat dinner. Luckily for us, French words are comparatively easy to make plural, if you know the rules. In this lesson, we're going to learn the rules to make practically any noun in the French language plural, paying special attention to the exceptions.

Adding an S

First let's start with the good news. The vast majority of words in French can be made plural by just adding an S to the end. In other words, it's just like English! Livre becomes livres for more than one book, while chambre becomes chambres for multiple bedrooms. For the majority of French terms, it's that easy!

-Ou and -Au

Of course, you didn't really expect it to be that easy, did you? Just like in English, there are words that break the rules. However, if you know the rules to the exceptions, you're in a much better position to make the most of your study of French. Take words that end in -ou, for example. In many cases, they take an S just like many other French nouns. However, there are a handful of words that end in -ou that use an X instead. Le joujou, the word for toy, is les joujoux in the plural, for example.

But what about words that end in -au? Almost all of those end with an X added at the end. Therefore, le chapeau, or the hat, becomes les chapeaux.

Dealing with -Aux

A number of very common French terms end in -al. We have many of these in English, like animal and journal. However, while we would make animal or journal plural with an S, the French prefer to use a different construction. Instead, they get rid of the -al and instead add -aux to the end. Here are some examples:

  • Le journal becomes les journaux.
  • Le cheval (horse) becomes les chevaux.
  • L'animal is now les animaux.

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