Do you guys know any words ending with –al? I’m sure you’ve heard of “le festival” or “le carnaval” or maybe even “le journal”.You’ve also learned that, to form the plural of nouns in French, just like in English actually, you add an –s at the end.
Well, for words ending in –al, only the exceptions have embraced the general rule with the usual ‘–s’… So let’s start with the exceptions for once: le bal/les bals, le carnaval/les carnavals, le festival/les festivals, le chacal/les chacals, le régal/les régals, le cal/les cals. Every other ‘–al’ words take ‘–aux’ in the plural. Ex.: le journal/les journaux, le canal/les canaux, le mal/les maux, le cheval/les chevaux.
Got that? Awesome! Now let’s look at the plural of words ending with ‘–ail’. They are much more conformist than their ‘–al counterparts’ since they take an ‘–s’ in the plural form. So why mention them? Well, you know… there are always those who don’t wanna do like everybody else, the extravagant exceptions that want a little place in your memory. So they and remember them.
Here they are: bail/baux – corail/coraux – émail/émaux – soupirail/soupiraux – travail/travaux – ventail/ventaux – vitrail/vitraux.
Careful not to mix up the 2 types of words mentioned here. The confusion is easy. The only difference between the 2 is that cheeky “i” nestled in between the ‘a’ and the ‘l’.
Bon travail! Essayez d’éviter les maux de tête! (Good work! Try to avoid headaches!)