Le pluriel des noms composés

French Grammar (see all)

Want to improve your French? Test our online French lessons for free!

Le pluriel des noms composés

In compound nouns, verbs, adverbs and pronouns are invariable (we don’t use their plural form).
Un laissez-passer a pass → des laissez-passer passes (verb + verb: no agreement)
Un va-et-vient a back-and-forth (movement) → des va-et-vient back-and-forth (movements)
Un qu’en dira-t-on a piece of gossip → des qu’en dira t-on pieces of gossip (pronouns + verb: no agreement)

Nouns and adjectives, however, do change in the plural.
Un auteur-compositeur an author-composer → des auteurs-compositeurs author-composers (noun + noun)
Un cerf-volant a kite → des cerfs-volants kites (noun + adjective)
Un court-métrage a short film → des courts-métrages short films (adjective + noun)

When a compound noun is made up of verb + noun, the noun can be in the singular or the plural. Both spellings are accepted.
Un porte-serviette a towel rail → des porte-serviette or des porte-serviettes towel rails (depending on whether they hold one or several towels)
Un abat-jour a lamp-shade → des abat-jour lamp-shades (standard spelling), des abat-jours (alternative spelling)

Exceptions:
•  The term demi (half) is also invariable when used in composite nouns (a word created using multiple words).
Une demi-journée a half-day → des demi-journées half-days

•  If the first word in the compound noun ends in -o (for example, anglo-, electro-, etc.) it is invariable.
Un Anglo-Saxon → des Anglo-Saxons




Still having difficulties with Le pluriel des noms composés? Want to improve your French? Test our online French lessons and receive a free level assessment!


Do you have smart way of remembering this rule? A tip to avoid making a mistake on Le pluriel des noms composés? Share it with us!