Nouns that are plural in English but singular in French, and vice versa

Singular where plural in English (Collective nouns)

La famille est heureuseThe family is/are happy

La police va arrêter le criminelThe police is going to arrest the criminal.
The police are going to arrest the criminal.

In English, what we call collective nouns (e.g. family, team, police, company, ...) can be followed by a verb either in singular or plural form, depending on whether we consider the group as a single unit (singular), or as the individuals forming the group (plural).

However, these collective nouns are always followed by singular in French. 

Plural where singular in English

Je vais en vacances en juilletI'm going on holiday in July

Elle a les cheveux blondsShe has blonde hair

Note that words such as ''holiday'' (vacances) and ''hair'' (cheveux) are always plural in French. The adjectives or verbs following them are also in plural form.


Case of toilette(s)

Où sont les toilettes s’il vous plaît ?Where is the toilet/restroom please?

Je fais ma toilette tous les matins.I have a wash every morning.
I wash myself every morning.

Note that toilettes is always used in the plural to mean "the toilet/restroom".
La toilette (singular) in French means "a (personal) wash".

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Examples and resources

Je fais ma toilette tous les matins.I have a wash every morning.
I wash myself every morning.
Où sont les toilettes s’il vous plaît ?Where is the toilet/restroom please?

Plural where singular in English


Je vais en vacances en juilletI'm going on holiday in July
Elle a les cheveux blondsShe has blonde hair

Singular where plural in English


La famille est heureuseThe family is/are happy
La police va arrêter le criminelThe police is going to arrest the criminal.
The police are going to arrest the criminal.
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