Why is Pays de Galles masculine and not plural? Is it an exception?

Lisa

Kwiziq community member

30 January 2016

2 replies

Why is Pays de Galles masculine and not plural? Is it an exception?

This relates to:
Using en with feminine countries and au(x) with masculine countries to say in or to (prepositions) -

Gruff

Kwiziq language super star

30 January 2016

30/01/16

Good question! I suspect you're comparing "Pays de Galles" with "Pays-Bas" and they do look like they both ought to be plural. In fact, however, "pays" is actually the same word in singular and plural form (a bit like "sheep" in English). It means land or lands, and the country names literally mean, The Land of the Galls (Le Pays de Galles = Wales), and The Low-Lands (Les Pays-Bas = Holland).

Lisa

Kwiziq community member

30 January 2016

30/01/16

That was a really good answer that clarified it for me completely. Thanks for making reference to "sheep" as it reminded me that there are indeed words that are used both for plural and singular forms of the same thing. Thank you.

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