Plus: When Should You Pronounce the Final “s”?

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 !

Benjamin Houy

Benjamin Houy is a native French speaker and tea drinker with a BA degree in Applied Foreign Languages and a passion for languages. After teaching French and English in South Korea for 7 months as part of a French government program, he created French Together™ to help English speakers learn the 20% of French that truly matters. You will also find him giving blogging advice on Grow With Less.