Guide to Singular and Plural Nouns in French

singular and plural nouns in french

French nouns can be singular or plural. As each noun requires an article (definite or indefinite), it means they also have a special form to indicate singular and plural.

We’ll demonstrate how to make plural nouns in French grammar with quick and easy examples; then you’ll be able to test your knowledge with some exercises.

How to Form the Plural of French Nouns

General Rules

  1. The plural form of a noun is usually created by changing the article to les/des and adding an -s to a noun. 

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

As you must notice, before the noun, there’s an indefinite article that changes accordingly into a plural form des. The same will go for definite articles. Learn more about Definite and Indefinite Articles in French.

2. Noun ends in –s, –x,  or –z: Plural form remains the same.

un bras : an arm

des bras : some arms

un choix : a choice

des choix : some choices

un nez : a nose

des nez : some noses

3. Noun ends in –eau or –eu – au: Add an –x  to form the plural.

un château : a castle

des châteaux : some castles

un neveu : nephew

des neveux : nephews

Un oiseau : a bird

 des oiseaux : birds

Un cheveu : hair

des cheveux : hairs

4. Noun ends in –al : Drop the –al and substitute 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

Some words ending in –al are regular :

Un festival : des festivals
Un bal  :  des bals
Un carnaval  : des carnavals

5. Words ending in –ou:

Most of them are regular:

Un trou : hole

Des trous : holes

Irregular nouns ending in -ou with a plural in -x:

Bijou (jewel) : des bijoux
Caillou (stone) : des cailloux
Chou (cabbage) :  des choux
Genou (knee) : des genoux
Hibou (owl) : des hiboux
Joujou (kids word for toy) : des joujoux

Irregular Plural Forms in French

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

Ciel : sky

Two plurals are accepted: des ciels, des cieux : heavens

French Nouns only in Plural

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

 Online Exercises to Improve Your French

When it comes to memorizing, nothing is more important than the practice. It’s a way to sharpen your memory, raise some doubts and make sure you learn how to apply all these rules when you need it.

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