Le pluriel des noms composés (2)
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Le pluriel des noms composés (2)Reminder: in compound nouns, constituent words that are adjectives and nouns are written in their plural form.
un chirurgien-dentiste a dental surgeon des chirurgiens-dentistes dental surgeons (noun + noun)
However, if the compound noun is made up of two nouns separated by a preposition (et, en, à, etc.), only the first of the two is written in the plural.
un arc-en-ciel a rainbow des arcs-en-ciel rainbows
une pomme de terre a potato des pommes de terre potatoes
Certain words which make up compound nouns are written with a plural ending if they function as a noun, but without one if they function as a verb.
des portes-fenêtres French windows, French doors (portes is the plural form of the noun meaning ‘a door’)
des garde-manger pantries, larders (garde is written without an -s because it comes from the verb garder, ‘to keep’ or ‘to store’)
des gardes-malades live-in nurses, carers (gardes is the plural form of the noun meaning ‘a guard’)
• The nouns pot-au-feu (a dish of boiled beef), tête-à-tête (a one-on-one conversation) and coq-à-l’âne (the act of suddenly changing the subject) never take an -s.
• Latin words are also invariable, for example: des nota bene (notes, NBs), des mea-culpa (admissions of guilt), des post-scriptum (postscripts).
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