French Grammar: How to Say “Plus”

Salut !

PluS or plu(s)?
Suuuuuch a classic pronunciation question. 🙂

People make so many common mistakes using this four-letter word where saying the S can change what it means.

Alors. PluS or plu(s)? With or without S? Or is it « plu » ?
This is what we’ll see in today’s episode of Comme une Française TV.

C’est parti ?

Link to Le Point du FLE: The Grammar Behind « Plus »

Et toi ?

Do you have tricks for remembering the difference between plus and plus ?
Any nice and funny anecdote to share about a mistake you made because of these words?

Oh and… don’t worry.
It’s a very, very classic mistake. You’re not the only one!

Gros bisous et à tout de suite dans les commentaires !

Géraldine

Join the conversation!

  • If you think “I’m talking about less so I need less of the word” then you will remember to drop the ‘s’ and say ‘plu’. If you think this is extra (or literally addition) then you think “I’m talking about more so I need more of a word” and you say all the letters ‘plus’. Or, at least that’s what works for me.

  • Hi Geraldine, I love your tutorials but I think this one leaves out a lot and ends up being confusing, because “plus” in all its forms appears very frequently in written and spoken French. I know you’re trying to avoid information overload, but in this particular case I do think this approach is maybe counter-productive. This subject caused me a lot of frustration until I finally (I think!) worked it out.

    After some research, I have come up with the following 3 rules for myself. I know they use phonetic spelling but there’s no other way to explain in a text!

    1. ne…..plus [ply] = not anymore
    Example: je ne bois plus [ply] d’alcool/I don’t drink alcohol anymore

    2. plus, pronounced either [plys] or [ply] = more

    # – pronounced [plys] with a noun or verb, and followed by “de” or “que”
    eg…je voudrais plus [plys] de pain/I would like more bread
    …Il lit plus [plys] que moi/he reads more than me
    (Special case: if a noun is preceded by a number or fraction, the “s” is not pronounced.
    eg…plus [ply] plus de cinquante kilomètres; plus [ply] de la moitié)

    # – pronounced [ply] with an adjective or adverb
    eg… Elle est plus [ply] grande que son frère/she is taller (“more tall”) than her brother
    … Il marche plus vite que son père/he walks more quickly than his father

    (nb liaison: plus [ply] is pronounced [plyz] before a vowel eg.. il est plus [plyz] inquiet que son
    frère/he is more worried than his brother)

    3. Other uses of plus, pronounced [plys]
    # – addition
    eg… deux plus [plys] deux égalent quatre/two plus two equals four
    # – in certain phrases and expressions, usually with an implication of “more”
    eg… de plus [plys] au plus [plys], en plus [plys], à plus! [plys] , de plus [plyz] en plus [plys]
    # – used as a masculine noun
    eg…en France, parler français est un plus [plys] indéniable/in France, speaking French is a
    definite plus.

    Please tell me if any of this is wrong! Thank you for your wonderful online classes.

    Steven, Belfast

    • Hi John, good question!

      In “À plus tard !” (= see you later), the “s” is silent.
      In “À plus !” (= see you!), a more colloquial synonym, the “s” is pronounced.

      Have a good day,

      (- Arthur, writer for Comme une Française)

  • I usually think that if it’s more than the s is pronounced if it’s less or no more then it isn’t, more or less yes and no.

  • I found your class on plus really interesting
    I once said to a friend who est tres douee en francais:
    Plusss je vieillis plusss je rayonne
    She said it is not plusss it is plu(s) and corrected me
    Was she correct?

  • I’m like Ann I’ll have to listen more than once, I’ve struggles with this for a long time, but the way you explain it….I’m gonna handle it for once and for all. Thank you so much

  • Le premier fois j’ai écouté cet phrase, il était dedans une magasine. J’ai demandé la assistante commerciale si elle a le pain. Non plu elle m a reponde. J’ai pensé elle m’a dit elle a plus et ne peux pas comprendre pourquoi elle m a pas donné ou e pain.

  • Bonjour, Géraldine et merci beaucoup ! I’m ‘Guilty As Charged’ in making every mistake possible with using, ‘plus’. I will watch this video again and again! 🙂

  • Salut Géraldine !
    Pour cette phrase: je vais la prononcer comme ça :
    « Je n’ai plus soif, j’ai déjà bu dans le bu*s*. «

  • Merci, Geraldine, c’est bien utile. Maintenant j’ai besoin de pluS de pratique! (peutetre que ‘pratique’ n’est pas le bon mot?

  • Merci pour cette leçon qui est très outile! J’apprends le français depuis longtemps, mais c’est la première fois que j’ai appris la différence entre fils/fils, os/os, bu/bus etc. J’aime bien les exercices après la leçon!

  • hi geraldine from England, uk. I love this site, its just what i need right now so practising with you every day. mercy mille foie

  • I appreciate these finer points but I need more conversation relative to traveling, ordering food at a restaurant, etc…

  • Ceux qui aiment la musique peut penser au morceau pour piano de Claude Debussy, “La plus que lente” [pluS].

  • Salut!
    Je ne comprends pas le phrase: “Mes enfants sont grands, ils vivent plus à la maison”. Pourquoi ne pas prononcer la lettre S? Ne devrait pas prononcer la lettre S parce qu’il vient d’un article (à)?

    • Bonjour Mariana,
      Dans ce cas précis, on peut dire “Plu(s) à la maison” ou “PluZ à la maison” pour faire la liaison.
      Les 2 fonctionnent.

  • Un jour, quand j’étais étudiante à l’université, j’ai dit à mon professeur (qui était français), “Je mange plus (plu) en automne.” Je voulais dire que “I eat more in the fall.” Il m’a répondu, “What? You no longer eat?” À ce moment -là il m’a appris à le prononcer correctement selon le sens du mot. Je n’ai jamais oublié cette leçon! Et plus (pluz) important, je n’ai plus (plu) de problèmes avec le mot “plus”! Voilà!

  • I was doing an exercise in a course involving “ne…plus”
    La phrase: “Il n’y a plus de lait dans le frigo.” And then the more familiar version: “Il y a plus de lait dans le frigo.” In both cases the “s” was not pronounced and the meaning was “There is no more milk in the fridge.”
    However I thought that the latter meant, “There IS more milk in the fridge.” Can it mean that? Does one have to pronounce the “s” to make it mean “more” as compared to “no more”? Vos pensees?!

    • Hi Michael !
      The sentence “il y a plus de lait dans le frigo” can have two different meanings depending on whether you pronounce the “s” or not :
      – you pronounce the “s” =>there is more milk in the fridge
      -you don’t pronounce the “s” => no more milk.

  • Thanks for your great tutorial. Can you tell me if I should pronounce the ‘s’ when I want to say “Mais plus ou moins?”

  • Comment se prononce l’expression “de plus en plus”? Ayant fait la liaison entre le premier “plus” et “en”, est-ce que le deuxième “plus” suit les règles données? C’est à dire, on fait la liaison avec le deuxième “plus” si cela est suivi par un voyelle, on ne prononce pas le “s” si c’est suivi par un adjectif, et cetera?

    Merci Geraldine!

  • Merci pour votre aide Géraldine. Mais mon prof. nous a dit de utiliser ‘pluS’ quand c’est à la fin de la phrase et quand c’est entre deux mots on utilise ‘plus’. Est-ce que c’est correcte selon vous?

  • A friend told me that one does not pronounce the s in plus when
    the meaning is negative as in Je ne veux plu(s) de haricot verts.

  • Merci Géraldine! I can do this pretty well, but those exceptions with “followed by a noun or verb” really surprised me, that 5% exception category. Most of this is stuff that I would never directly teach to my students, their heads would explode, but that they’d learn from listening through talking with people who do it correctly or hearing it read or in tv/films. Then they (like I) just hear what’s “right.” But that 5%. Crazy!

  • I love all the posts and videos. I feel that my grammar and knowledge are great on paper, but I need to develop an ear for French, especially when the speakers are speaking quickly. Help?

  • Geraldine,
    This was an excellent video, merci! I really wanted to say ‘C’etait un video excellent’ or should it be ‘C’etait un excellent video’ (adjective order? You do great videos. Thank you and bravo!

  • Thank you, Geraldine and commentators for clearing up a confusing issue. Now if only I can remember! Practice, practice, practice!

  • I just returned from a wonderful week in Paris. I noticed that French women dressed very differently than we do. Luckily, I did nit wear tennis shoes or jeans. Could you address dress styles? Color choices, slacks or not, prints or solids.

    • Hi Anna,

      I’d say:
      Pick 1-2 colors including a black or white or dark blue.
      Add few accessories.
      Go with a super simple make-up.
      Quality is our number 1 concern
      Don’t ever wear sweatpants.
      Flip flops can be tolerated if you have your nails done and your flip flops look really good.

      I always wear a scarf (winter, summer, spring, fall…).
      The best advice I could give is to check French brands online and copy. 😉

      Bon courage !

  • Merci Géraldine! This is one of the most confusing “rules” of pronunciation for teachers of French to impart to students. This will be a big help!

  • In one of the examples, part of the sentence is : “…ils (ne) vivent plus à la maison.” I understand that dropping the ne is common in spoken French, but I’m wondering if there is liaison after plus — it would seem that with “à” following it, it would be plus-(Z)-à, but clearly that’s not the pronunciation on the video. Thanks for your help! (Or rather Merci pour m’aider.) (At least I think that’s how I’d say that…)

  • Tres interessant le utiliser le mot “plus”.Je ne pense pas il ya deux meaning mon explanation n’est pas tres bien. bisous, Charlotte.

  • Pour l’expression “à plus tard,” est-ce qu’on prononce le “s”? Je ne le prononce pas mais d’autres personnes disent oui. 🙁 MERCI! 🙂

  • Love this one (as always)! Un bémol, Geraldine….I live in Toulouse. Aha! Gotcha! 😉 These crazy Toulousaines pronounce the “s” always when they say “plus” or “moins”. Stay away from Toulouse and all will be fine…

  • Mon ancien prof nous en donnait un exemple:
    A la banque: Vous – “PluS de crédit?”
    Le guichet: “Plus de crédit!”

  • Bonjour,
    The same sentence can mean two opposite things depending if you pronounce the “s” or not when we don’t use the “ne” as we don’t in conversation. Par exemple, “j’en veux plus”. If you pronounce de “s” it means “I want more of it”, but if you don’t prounounce the “s” it means “I don’t want it anymore”. I always like to point it out to my students, not to add to the confusion, but to remind them that the negation of the sentence can be expressed different ways. Kind of like asking a question with an affirmation by raising your voice. Par exemple, “tu as froid” means you are cold”, but say the same sentence raising your voice and you are asking “are you cold?”. All languages do it, but when you are raised speaking it, you don’t think about it.

  • Dear Geraldine, I particularly liked the final 3 phrases to speak out loud and practise before you gave the right answer, a really good new activity!
    Thanks Catriona

    • I agree – I loved those exercises at the end.

      I actually forget to use plu(s) for “no more” or “anymore”. As a consequence, I rarely say it in French and end up saying “none” (e.g. rien) or similar instead, e.g. “il n’y a pas de la confiture dans le frigo; alors je dois en acheter.”

      I don’t know where I picked up before that it is pluS (pronounced) everywhere except before adverbs/adjectives (in general, liaisons excluded), but thanks for confirming it!

  • Hi Geraldine, my French teacher (who is French) said to remember it simply if you are describing a negative meaning use plu(s) and for a positive meaning use plus. She didn’t mention the adjective / vowel rule, had she made a error?

    • Hi Donna,

      Thanks for your question. I think your French teacher is right in telling you this. 🙂
      As you saw it’s a complicated topic: with lots of rules. And if her tip works 90% of the time, it’s good enough to be remembered for everyday life.
      To be honest, I had no idea about all these rules before preparing this episode. I used my intuition to say the “S” or not. 🙂
      So any tip that’s roughly right, here, is good to have.

  • Coucou Géraldine! Ça va?

    J’ai une petite question…quand on dit “à plus!” est-ce qu’on prononce le “s” ou pas?

    Merci!

    • Oui, quand on dit “à plus tard”, we pronounce the “s”. We follow the same rules as with the numbers “six” and “dix” when we pronounce the “x” as an”s” when not followed by a noun. Par exemple, “j’en veux six”. But “il y a si(x) livres sur la table”, le “x” is silent. If the noun starts with a vowel, the “x” makes the sound of the “z”, par exemple, “il y a six assiettes sur la tables

      • La question d’Anne concerne « à plus ! » et oui, on prononce le « s ». Mais dans « à plus tard » c’est muet.

        • Je viens de relire mon commentaire Toutes mes excuses Bien sûr, j’ai voulu dire que l’on prononce le S de “à plus ” et pas celui d’ “a plus tard”. Merci d’avoir remarquer mon erreur

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