Forming the plural of French nouns ending in -ou

In French, most nouns ending in -ou take an -s in the plural form, but for 7 exceptions that take an -x.

7 French nouns ending in -ou that take -x in the plural form

le bijou les bijoux jewel(s) 
le chou les choux cabbage(s)
le caillou les cailloux stone(s)
le joujou les joujoux toy(s)
le genou les genoux knee(s)
le pou les poux lice
le hibou les hiboux owl(s)

Listen to these examples:

Il y a des trous dans la route.There are holes in the road.

Les fous sont dans la rue !The mad men are in the street!

Elle a des cailloux dans sa chaussure.She has stones in her shoe.

Ils font pousser des choux dans leur jardin.They're growing cabbages in their garden.

L'enfant est sur les genoux de sa maman.The child is on his mum's knees.

J'adore les bijoux !I love jewels!

Fun mnemotechnics to remember the 7 exceptions in -oux

1- The first two stanzas from Robert Desnos's poem "Les Hiboux":

Ce sont les mères des hiboux
Qui désiraient chercher les poux
De leurs enfants, leurs petits choux,
En les tenant sur les genoux.

Leurs yeux d'or valent des bijoux
Leur bec est dur comme cailloux,
Ils sont doux comme des joujoux,
Mais aux hiboux point de genoux !

Those are the owls' mothers
Who wanted to look for the lice
Of their little children, their little cabbages,
While holding them on their knees

Their golden eyes are worthy of jewels
Their beaks are hard like rocks
They are soft like toys,
But owls have no knees!

 

2- To the tune of "Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes":

Bijoux, Cailloux
Genoux, Joujoux (répétez)
Chou-ou-ou-oux
Poux et Hiboux
Bijoux, Cailloux
Genoux, Joujoux
 
Jewels, Pebbles
Knees and Toys (repeat)
Ca-a-bba-age
Lice and Owls
Jewels, Pebbles
Knees and Toys!

 

 

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Examples and resources

J'adore les bijoux !I love jewels!
Ils font pousser des choux dans leur jardin.They're growing cabbages in their garden.
Elle a des cailloux dans sa chaussure.She has stones in her shoe.
Il y a des trous dans la route.There are holes in the road.
Il a des poux.He's got lice.
L'enfant est sur les genoux de sa maman.The child is on his mum's knees.
"Les pluriel des noms" by youlearnfrench.blogspot.com
Les fous sont dans la rue !The mad men are in the street!
Let me take a look at that...