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French Language/Singular Nouns/Plural Nouns

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Question
Bonjour Alex:

When a French noun is singular but there is more than 1 item (ie:
le matérial scolaire), can it become plural as follows?

les matérials scolaires

Is there a general rule for nouns that follow this type of
pattern?  I find it very confusing :(

Merci!

Answer
Hello Suzanne,

I am not sure if there is a general rule for this grammatical situation.  Some words can be used only on the singular because the plural has a different meaning.  If there is no difference in meaning between singular and plural and the word is not one of the rare words that must always be singular, then you would be safe in pluralising it.

For a little more information on this subject, please see

http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/singularplural.htm

I hope this helps.

Alex D

French Language

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Alex

Expertise

I can answer questions relating to grammar, spelling, vocabulary, but not pronunciation. Pronunciation is too difficult to write out to be meaningful. If you are looking to learn the accent of the language, you must hear the language - and there are many websites that allow you to listen to native speakers.

Experience

I grew up in a French speaking family. My father is French-Canadian born. I majored in Languages at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth and Classics at Roger Williams University. In both cases my concentration was on the French language.

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University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth Roger Williams University

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