en forme de

JamesonC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

en forme de

Very 'tricky/unnatural' syntax for this 'idiom' 

le gâteau était en forme de fusée ! so forme and fusée are two nouns with noun 2 acting  as adjective (like 'la salle de classe). No article before first noun because of preposition 'en' which  kinda  fools us(well me) a bit. I tried "they made rocket shaped  cakes" and got "ils ont fait des gâteaux en forme de fusée". Rockets have ONE SHAPE and thus all the cakes had that ONE shape.

I tried "they made cards in the shapes of flowers" and got "ils ont fait des cartes en forme de fleurs". Not 'formes'! Usually even behind idioms are solid grammatical truths.. I suspect this is a dumb question but does  the use of 'en' in this context require a singular noun. Examples of 'not' dont come to mind... unless with a noun like 'larmes' which is really be default plural.

Asked 3 years ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Jameson,

The set expression 'in the shape of '  (or shaped- like ) is 'en forme de' in French.

You can add any number of words at the end,  some singular, like a rocket as you would only expect one shape or flowers in the plural. 

en forme de cœur heart-shaped 

en forme de lettres =  in the shape of letters 

etc.

forme will always be singular.

Hope this helps! 

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

être en forme de qqc. -- (lit.: to be in the form of smthg.) to be shaped like

No, en does not require a singular noun. It is thin ice to dismantle every idiom and phrase grammatically, because often they don't follow strict grammatical rules.

...en forme de fleurs -- ... in the shape of flowers. This assumes that there's one common shape of flowers, i.e., the speaker places no emphasis on distinguishing them.

Jameson asked:View original

en forme de

Very 'tricky/unnatural' syntax for this 'idiom' 

le gâteau était en forme de fusée ! so forme and fusée are two nouns with noun 2 acting  as adjective (like 'la salle de classe). No article before first noun because of preposition 'en' which  kinda  fools us(well me) a bit. I tried "they made rocket shaped  cakes" and got "ils ont fait des gâteaux en forme de fusée". Rockets have ONE SHAPE and thus all the cakes had that ONE shape.

I tried "they made cards in the shapes of flowers" and got "ils ont fait des cartes en forme de fleurs". Not 'formes'! Usually even behind idioms are solid grammatical truths.. I suspect this is a dumb question but does  the use of 'en' in this context require a singular noun. Examples of 'not' dont come to mind... unless with a noun like 'larmes' which is really be default plural.

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