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Plus Pronunciation

The French adverb plus has different pronunciations, depending on how it's used. Generally speaking, when plus has a positive meaning (e.g., more, extra, additional) it is pronounced [ploos]. When it is used as a negative adverb (meaning "no more"), it is usually pronounced [ploo]. The way I remember this is by thinking that the positive sense of the word has an extra sound, while the negative sense does not. In other words, the [s] sound is subtracted when the word has a negative meaning, added when it has a positive meaning. Isn't that clever? ;-)

This general pronunciation rule applies to plus when it's used as an affirmative or negative adverb. When used as a comparative or superlative, the rules are somewhat different.

Affirmative adverb - [ploos]
   Plus de means "more (than)" or "additional"
   Je veux plus de beurre. I want more butter.
Il y aura plus de choix demain. There will be additional choices tomorrow.
J'ai plus de 1 000 livres. I have more than 1,000 books.
   
Negative adverb - [ploo]
Ne ... plus is a negative adverb, meaning "no more" or "not any more"
Je ne le veux plus. I don't want it any more.
Je ne veux plus de beurre. I don't want any more butter.
Plus de beurre, merci.** No more butter, thank you.
 
Non plus means "neither" or "not ... either"
Je n'aime pas les pommes non plus. I don't like apples either.
- Je n'ai pas de montre.
- Moi non plus !
- I don't have a watch.
- Me neither!
 
Ne ... plus que means "only" or "nothing more than"
Il n'y a plus que miettes. There are only crumbs (left).
- Y a-t-il des pommes ?
- Plus qu'une.
**
- Are there any apples?
- Only one.
 
Ne ... pas plus means "no more than" (pretty much the same thing as ne ... plus que)
Il n'y a pas plus de 3 médecins. There are no more than 3 doctors.
- Puis-je emprunter un stylo ?
- Je n'en ai pas plus d'un.
- Can I borrow a pen?
- I only have one.

**Note: There are a few expressions in which plus is negative without ne, because there is no verb for ne to negate. Note that these are normally at the beginning of a clause:

  • Plus besoin (de) - (there's) no more need (to/of)
  • Plus de + noun - (there's) no more + noun
  • Plus maintenant - not any more, not any longer
  • Plus que + noun - (there are) only ___ more

In addition, the ne is often omitted in spoken, informal French (learn more). This is when pronouncing or not pronouncing the [s] is most important. If I say Je veux plus [ploo] de beurre, someone may very well think I mean I don't want any more butter. This is actually how I learned the difference between the two pronunciations. I was eating breakfast and asked, Y a-t-il plus [ploo] de beurre ? and the woman replied, Mais si, si ! (yes in response to a negative question). I should have asked Y a-t-il plus [ploos] de beurre ?
  

Comparative/superlative adverb

Plus as a comparative or superlative adverb is the exception to the above rules. When the comparative or superlative plus is in the middle of a sentence, it is pronounced [ploo], unless it precedes a vowel, in which case the liaison causes it to be pronounced [plooz]. When plus is at the end of a sentence, as in the final example, it is pronounced [ploos].

   Plus ... que or plus ... de indicates superiority in comparatives and can compare
   adjectives Je suis plus grand qu'elle. I'm taller than she is.
adverbs Je cours plus vite qu'elle. I run faster than she does.
nouns J'ai plus d'amis qu'elle. I have more friends than she does.
verbs Je cours plus qu'elle. I run more than she does.
 
Le plus or le plus de indicates superiority in superlatives and can compare
adjectives Je suis le plus grand étudiant. I'm the tallest student.
adverbs Je cours le plus vite. I run the fastest.
nouns J'ai le plus d'amis. I have the most friends.
verbs Je cours le plus. I run the most.

 
Page 2 - Expressions with Plus

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