When is the “s” in “plus” mute?
Another big headache today with this article inspired by my british advanced student, Anna!
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!
Plus with “s” pronounced
- 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
- 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