When is the “s” in “plus” mute?

When is the “s” in “plus” mute?

Another big headache today with this article inspired by my british advanced student, Anna (thanks !)

Like I said in a previous article about “sentir vs ressentir”, as a native, you just k-n-o-w how to use the language but let’s dig more into the subject.

First, please note that we use “plus” in french when it comes to: 

  • negation: ne…plus (not anymore
  • comparative/superlative (superiority): plus grand (taller)

Now comes the headache!


We do have, for both, examples where you pronounce the “s” and where you don’t.

Let’s go for the inventory!


Plus with “s” pronounced

audio

  • When you mean “more” before nothing, “de”, “que” and other situations

J’en veux plus ⊘ ! I want more !

À plus* ⊘ !  See you later (*Implicitly: “…tard” in “À plus tard”)

Non, ce collier a bien plus de valeur No, this necklace is much more valuable

Tu en as eu plus que moi You had more than me

⚠ Pronunciation will be “z” before a word starting by a vowel (or “h”)

 ⚠ In french, an “s” between two vowels is a-l-w-a-y-s pronounced “z”: 
Vous êtes plus à même que nous pour juger You are a better judge than us
Il est plus apprécié que ses collègues People have a better opinion of him than of his colleagues
Je vois, vous voulez pratiquer le français plus efficacement I see: you want to practice french more often
Tu es plus habitué que moi au froid You are more used to the cold than me

?In fact, when you use “plus” meaning “more”, there are plenty of situations where it is possible to pronounce the “s” or not! It depends if you want to emphasize on this specific idea of “more”. Let’s talk about the sentence below:

 Je vois que vous êtes plus motivé que les autres candidats 
I can see you are more motivated than the other candidates

➨ I can let the “s” mute OR I can choose to pronounce it and if I do, it would imply that I think this candidate is r-e-a-l-l-y more motivated than the others!

  • When you mean negation before a word starting by a vowel

Pronunciation will be “z”

Il ne veut plus avoir à le répéter He doesn’t want to repeat it again

Be careful: it is possible not to pronounce the “s”!

For example, in the sentence below, you wouldn’t if you want to emphasize on the verb (and by the way, the pronunciation would be stressed on “veux”):

C’est terminé, je ne veux plus être en retard au travail!
Enough, I don’t ever want to be late for work!
  • When “plus” is considered as a noun

C’est vraiment un plus d’habiter au centre-ville It is a real advantage to live downtown

6 + 1 = 7 (six plus un, égal sept) In that case, you don’t make the connection with the word after even if it starts by a vowel!

  • When it comes to idiomatic expressions

De plus…. Moreover…

En plus…. Then / On top of that…

Pas plus, merci ! / Rien de plus, merci ! Nothing more, thanks

Tout au plus 10 euros At most 10 euros

Il y a eu plus de peur que de mal ! It was more fear than harm

Raison de plus pour… All the more reason to…

Sans plus ! So-so ( “sans plus attendre”: “s” is connected to “attendre” so the pronunciation is “z”)

De plus en plus… More and more… ( first “s” is connected to “en” so the pronunciation is “z”)

Plus ou moins More or less ( “s” is connected to “ou” so the pronunciation is “z”)


Plus with “s” mute

audio

  • When you mean “more” before a word starting by a consonant

Ça coûte plus cher ! It is more expensive

C’est plus fréquent que ce que je pensais It is more often than I expected

Nous voulons pratiquer le français plus régulièrement We want to practice french more often

  • When you mean negation before a word starting by a consonant

On ne veut plus prendre la voiture pour aller à Dijon, il y a le TGV ! We don’t want to drive to Dijon anymore, there is the high speed train!

Tu n’es plus habituée à te lever tôt le matin You are not used to wake up early anymore

⚠ This rule also works before “y” (indication of place): Tu ne veux plus y retourner (You don’t want to go there anymore)

⚠ Sometimes, part of the negation is omitted (informal) 
Du pain ? Non, j’en veux plus (= Je n’en veux plus”) Bread? No, I don’t want bread anymore

  • When it comes to idiomatic expressions

À plus tard ! See you later!

Jamais plus ! / Plus jamais ça ! Never again!

N’avoir plus rien Have nothing more

Plus du tout Not longer at all

I hope this article helped a little! Bear in mind that the more you will practice, the more you will k-n-o-w instinctively

Are there such big headaches in your language? Share with us below!

Small towns around Dijon: the story behind “Thil” & “Tille”

Small towns around Dijon: the story behind “Thil” & “Tille”

If you come visit or move here, you will probably hear weird sounds to refer to some villages and small towns:

  • Thil pronounced “ti-le” like in “hostile”, “subtil”, “volatile”, etc.
  • Tille pronounced “ti-ye” like in “famille”, “gentille”, “myrtille”, “Camille”, etc.


audio

Thil (= linden tree)

Around Dijon, 5 cities are named with “Thil”: Aisy-sous-Thil, Marcigny-sous-Thil, Nan-sous-Thil, Précy-sous-Thil, Vic-sous-Thil.


audio

Toponymy is really interesting: the word “sous” means “under” so basically, it implies that these towns are under this “Thil” thing!

In the old days, “Thil” would refer to a linden tree so it is actually quite poetic

We can assume that lots of Linden trees of Sully still exist here (source)! Did you know that this tree was named after Sully, Secretary of King Henri IV (16th-17th)? Indeed, he wanted linden trees being planted everywhere in the villages, in front of the church or on main square.

A linden tree in Chaignay, 20km from Dijon, certified as a remarkable tree
(source: “Côte-d’Or : le tilleul de Chaignay a reçu le label d’arbre remarquableFrance 3 Bourgogne Franche-Comté – 03/09/2018)

There is also a famous local family with the name “Thil” starting with Miles de Thil, founder of the priory of Précy-sous-Thil in 1007. Nowadays, you still have many people out there named with “Thil” but with different assumptions about the origin (source: Geneanet.com).

Tille (= waterway)

River Tille (length: 82,7km) takes its source in the east of France and runs through 26 towns in Côte-d’Or: Salives, Barjon, Avot, Marey-sur-Tille, Villey-sur-Tille, Crécey-sur-Tille, Échevannes, Til-Châtel, Lux, Spoy, Beire-le-Chatel, Arceau, Arc-sur-Tille, Remilly-sur-Tille, Cessey-sur-Tille, Genlis, Pluvault, Champdôtre, Les Maillys.

Let’s notice that some are named with “Tille” and others not… Another mystery…

Anyway, 10 cities near Dijon are named after this river: Arc-sur-Tille, Bressey-sur-Tille, Cessey-sur-Tille, Crécey-sur-Tille, Is-sur-Tille, Magny-sur-Tille, Marcilly-sur-Tille, Marey-sur-Tille, Remilly-sur-Tille, Villey-sur-Tille.


audio

Let’s notice here the word “sur” — meaning “on” — implying that these places are located alongside the river. The word “tille” itself used to refer to a waterway in local language and after that, only one of the waterways kept the common noun which became a proper noun!

So now you know something that even French people living here don’t!

As a conclusion, we can’t help but notice that the word “tille” looks like the french word for linden tree: “tilleul”. There is no coincidence here: in old french, tille or theille refers to a rope made of linden tree bark (source: Centre national de ressources textuelles et lexicales).

We end up realizing that « Thil » and « Tille » have a very close meaning and both help us dream about the countryside not that far from Dijon…

Are there such stories behind names of cities in your country? Share with us below!

Listen to 126 France’s regional accents

Listen to 126 France’s regional accents!

Researchers from CNRS* met people all over France and the result is an interactive listening map with typical french accents.

Check out here the pronunciation in Bourgogne!

Text: Esope’s fable (Fable d’Esope)
“La bise et le soleil se disputaient, chacun assurant qu’il était le plus fort, quand ils ont vu un voyageur qui s’avançait, enveloppé dans son manteau. Ils sont tombés d’accord que celui qui arriverait le premier à faire ôter son manteau au voyageur serait regardé comme le plus fort. Alors, la bise s’est mise à souffler de toute sa force mais plus elle soufflait, plus le voyageur serrait son manteau autour de lui et à la fin, la bise a renoncé à le lui faire ôter. Alors le soleil a commencé à briller et au bout d’un moment, le voyageur, réchauffé a ôté son manteau. Ainsi, la bise a du reconnaître que le soleil était le plus fort des deux. “

* National Center for Scientific Research

Click here to see the interactive map: https://atlas.limsi.fr/index-en.html