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 !

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

  1. Hi ! I’d like to know if it’s negative sentence but the word “plus” is followed by a vowel/silent h, are you gonna pronounce the ‘s’ or not ? or are you gonna make a liaison ?

    Reply
  2. Hi may I know is French normally don’t pronounce the last s, for this article is this only for plus only, not other words ending with s?

    Reply
    • The ending “s” is never pronounced when it marks the plural form, for example :

      Une voiture (a car)
      Des voitures (somes cars)

      The word “voiture” and “voitures” is pronounced the same.

      Reply
  3. In the expression below:
    Il faut travailler plus il gagner plus .
    In the first plus ; is the s pronounced ? Or not?
    Almost all the bots and dictionaries don’t pronouce it but native people do.
    What is right?

    Reply
  4. It seems like the final s in bus and terminus is pronounced, or they were at least some of the time when I was in France last Summer.

    Reply
  5. Hi there, you say that when “plus” has a positive meaning, you pronounce the final “s”, and then you add that there are exceptions. Are the three sentences below that exceptions? (ie you don’t pronounce the ‘s’ in plus de vin/plus de temps?) I wasn’t sure! Thank you.

    Reply
    • Hi, those aren’t the only excpetions. You do need to prononce the “s” in plus de vin/ plus de temps. You always pronounce it when it’s before “de” or “d'” (ie: pluS d’argent).

      Reply
    • Yeah, that’s because “tard” begins with a consonant.

      I mentioned the positive negative trick, because it works most of the time, but there are exceptions unfortunately.

      Reply
      • Uh, no, in the example « plus tard », the “s”is silent because “plus” is an adverb. The positive/negative rule applies only to adjectives. The vowel/consonant rule applies to pronouncing the “s” as a “z,” which applies to both adjectives and adverbs. The biggest bugaboo, imo, is that the French often drop the « ne » in conversation, meaning that, if you want more wine (or more anything—a lady in my class yesterday asked if the “s” were pronounced only for wine ?), be sure to pronounce it “plusss.”

        Reply

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