Singulier ou Pluriel en français
It’s sometimes fuzzy to know how to figure out if a noun triggers a singular or plural verb in French, particularly for collective nouns.
A collective noun is a word used in its singular form to express a set of items, 2 or more.
Examples of collective nouns are: the family, the police, the people…
Because it’s not consistent with English, the question is: ‘is this verb singular or plural in French?’
The police ARE (plural) here. ≠ La police EST (singular) là.
Let’s explore the number category – singular or plural – in this lesson.
Here is a list of nouns and their number categories:
Triggers a singular verb in French
une troupe de
un troupeau de vaches
le paquet de
une série de
Often triggers a plural verb in French
une foule de
un tas de
Often in the singular form with LE, LA – la dizaine de, la majorité de, la quantité de… (except for ‘la plupart’)
Often in the plural form with UN, UNE – une douzaine de, une majorité de, une quantité de …
About la plupart
Even though you may often see a singular verb with ‘la plupart’, the verb should be plural.
La plupart des gens ici sont à la retraite. – Most people here are retired.
Watch out for these commonly mistaken nouns:
HAIR is singular in English and CHEVEUX and POILS are plural in French, so long as they are a collective noun
VACATION is singular in English and VACANCES is plural in French
BATHROOM/TOILET is singular in English and TOILETTES is plural in French
CLOTHES is a plural noun in English and TOILETTE as a fancy outfit, a Sunday dress is singular in French
Further your French – Allez plus Loin