Could a language have a sentence meaning both “I want more” and I want less”?
Yup, the French language.
Confusing, isn’t it?
Luckily, you don’t need to learn grammar rules by heart, and you shouldn’t.
Your focus should be to get exposure to the language so you automatically learn grammar as you expand your vocabulary.
But sometimes, knowing some hacks you can use to better know how to use the language helps.
Today, I would like to show you general rules you can use to know whether you should pronounce the final “s” in “plus” or not.
You pronounce the “s” in “plus” when…
Plus is used as a mathematical sign
When “plus” is used as a mathematical sign (+), you pronounce the “s”.
3 plus 4 égal 7
3 + 4 = 7
Plus has a positive meaning
Generally, when “plus” has a positive meaning, you pronounce the final “s”. There are exceptions though.
Je voudrais plus de vin s’il vous plaît
I would like more wine please
J’aurai plus de temps libre en septembre
I will have more free time in September
Il faut travailler plus pour gagner plus
One must work more to earn more
This is a sentence Sarkozy famously used to criticise the 35-hour workweek.
Plus comes before an adjective starting with a vowel or silent “h” in a comparison
If it’s used in a comparison and precedes an adjective starting with a vowel or a silent “h”, the “s” of “plus” is pronounced “z”.
Il est plus intelligent que la moyenne
He is more clever than average
You don’t pronounce the “s” in “plus” when…
“Plus” has a negative meaning
When “plus” means “not anymore”, “no longer” or no more”, you generally don’t pronounce the final “s”. In this situation, “plus” is used in a “ne…plus” construction.
However, “ne” is omitted in spoken French, so the absence of “ne” doesn’t mean the “s” is necessarily pronounced.
Il n’y en a plus (often yen a plus in spoken French)
There isn’t any more
“Plus” precedes an adjective starting with a consonant in a comparison
If “plus” is used in a comparison and precedes an adjective starting with a consonant, it’s silent.
Je suis plus grand que toi
I am taller than you
Note: don’t mistake “plus” and “plu”. The latter is the verbs “pleuvoir” (to rain) or plaire (to please).
Over to you
If there is one thing you need to remember from this article, it’s that you generally pronounce the “s” when “plus” has a positive meaning and don’t when it has a negative meaning.
Remember this rule and you will be right in most cases.
A plus tard !