Forming the plural of nouns ending in -al

Look at these examples:

J'ai un animal familier. J'adore les animaux !
I have a pet. I love animals!

Tu as un cheval ? - Non, j'ai deux chevaux.
Do you have a horse? - No, I have two horses.

Il y a un hôpital dans ma ville. - Il y a trois hôpitaux ici !
There's one hospital in my town. - There are three hospitals here!

Je lis le journal tous les jours.  - Je déteste les journaux !
I read the newspaper every day. - I hate newspapers!

Note that most nouns ending in -al become -aux in the plural.

But as usual in French, there are some exceptions !

Here is a list of the most common ones:

des bals ([dancing] balls),
des carnavals,

des festivals,
des récitals,
des régals
(feasts/delights),
des chacals (jackals)
etc

 

See also Forming the plural of adjectives ending in -al 
and Forming the plural of adjectives ending in -al (exceptions)

 

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Ce pianiste a donné cinquante récitals cette année.
This pianist gave fifty recitals this year.


J'ai un animal familier. J'adore les animaux !
I have a pet. I love animals!


Les chacals vivent en Afrique.
Jackals live in Africa.


Je lis le journal tous les jours.  - Je déteste les journaux !
I read the newspaper every day. - I hate newspapers!


Ils ont organisé plusieurs bals pour l'anniversaire de la Reine.
They organised several balls for the Queen's birthday.


"Plurals in French" by www.frenchspanishonline.com


Tu as un cheval ? - Non, j'ai deux chevaux.
Do you have a horse? - No, I have two horses.


"Les pluriel des noms" by youlearnfrench.blogspot.com


Il y a un hôpital dans ma ville. - Il y a trois hôpitaux ici !
There's one hospital in my town. - There are three hospitals here!


Q&A

Joanne

Kwiziq community member

30 April 2019

1 reply

Using "en" when expressing quantity

In this question, the sentences are, "I have only two horses. He has twelve." My question concerns the second sentence. The sentence reads, "Il a douze," and is translated as "He has to horses." Wouldn't an "en" be necessary, "he has two of them," referring back to the previous sentence?

Chris

Kwiziq community member

2 May 2019

2/05/19

Are you referring to this sentence?

Tu as un cheval ? - Non, j'ai deux chevaux.

If so, then the second sentence doesn't need en because it repeats the object (chevaux). However, you could say J'en ai deux. In this case, en refers back to cheval in the first sentence.

-- Chris.

Claudia

Kwiziq community member

26 April 2019

2 replies

Salut a tous

I have a pronunciation question. When do I know that the "ll" is pronounced "l" as in ville and when it is pronounced "y" as in vieille. 

Chris

Kwiziq community member

29 April 2019

29/04/19

Here is a comprehensive summary: https://www.lawlessfrench.com/pronunciation/ll/

Claudia

Kwiziq community member

1 May 2019

1/05/19

merci

Daniel

Kwiziq community member

8 May 2017

1 reply

If most of those exceptions are some kind od parties or similar events...

...then we could call them "party breakers" :p

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

9 May 2017

9/05/17

Bonjour Daniel ! That can definitely help you remember these three: des bals des festivals des carnavals des récitals but unfortunately there are others: des régals des chacals ... I'm keeping this mnemotechnic in mind though ;) Bonne journée !

Savandhi

Kwiziq community member

20 March 2017

1 reply

bonjour Aurelie

Relevez des noms finissant avec -al qui sont exceptionnel, s'il vous plait

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

20 March 2017

20/03/17

Bonjour Savandhi ! I found your question so pertinent that I added these exceptions to the lesson. Have a look there :) Merci et à bientôt !
Getting that for you now.