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I know "How much does a room cost" is "Combien coute une chambre?"

But does the verb 'coute' change if I'm asking about a plural, such as "How much do the shoes cost?"


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My first thought was that it should be "Combien coûtent les chaussures"

However when I type in the phrase "Combien coûte les chaussures" I can see that , in Google at least it gives  more than 3 times as many returns.

And ,when I substitute "billets" for "chaussures"  ("Combien coûte des billets") the preference (again as measured by Google returns)  for the singular form of the verb is even more pronounced.

But I can't say if the singular form is always correct  or if the plual form is actually wrong.

I hadn't thought of doing a Google search to get a page count.

When I search on "Combien coûte les billets", I get 15,800 hits

When I search on "Combien coûtent les billets", I get 18,600 hits.

Statistically not a huge difference.  In French, maybe the two sentences are interchangeable and equally correct?

Yes you are right !

It must be a very inexact science this process of counting Google returns! When I did the same search using "des" instead of "les" ("Combien coûte des billets")  I got the result I mentioned in my earlier reply (acually 172>5 in favour of "coûte" vs "coûtent" I think it was ) .

I think we will just have to wait for someone with a bit more first hand knowledge since it does seem to me like a quite important thing to get right - although you could also be right  that the distinction is pretty minor.

Since "combien" denotes "how much", you are asking "how much do the tickets cost?"  I usually try to get away with the simplest forms while still making sense.  I would ask "Combien sont les billets?"  You can even get more colloquial and simply ask "Combien pour deux billets, s.v.p?  I don't think switching from "les" to "des" is the way to go since you would be asking the price of "some" tickets as opposed to "the" tickets.

Thanks for the answer, Charles, and also for the alternatives available.  I appreciate it so much!


Yes the verb "couter" changes in this sentence with the plural.

George,   your first thought was right ;-)

"Combien coûtent les chaussures ?" is the good writing.


Salut, Chantal,

Merci pour votre réponse.  Vous êtes très gentil!


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