Readers flock to Grammarist en masse for our awesome tips and articles about grammar. I just used the phrase “en masse” the way it was intended. But do you know where it came from and why we use it in the English language today? I’ll go over everything you need to know about using this French phrase.
What Does En Masse Stand For?
En masse is an adverb that literally means “in a mass of something” or just “in mass.” We use it to describe a large group of people or things gathered in one place or behaving similarly. En masse can also be used to describe an action taken collectively by a group of people.
Is En Masse English or French?
You bet! En masse is indeed a French phrase that’s been adopted into the English language. It’s one of many French words and phrases that have made their way into English over the centuries.
How to Pronounce En Masse
The phrase en masse is pronounced like ahn-mahs. The first word, “en,” is pronounced like the French word for “in,” and the second word, “masse,” is pronounced like the English word “mass.”
Seeing it broken down like this makes me wonder why we even bother using it since it has the same number of words and syllables as “in mass.”
How to Write En Masse
En masse should always be spelled with two separate words, not one like some people do. Ensure you include the space between the words because they’re separate words in French and English, and always use the E at the end of masse. So, it’s never en mass, en mass, en-masse, or enmasse, etc.
In Mass vs. En Masse
Yes, the phrases “in mass” and “en masse” are pretty similar, but there is a subtle difference between them. For the most part, we use “in mass” when talking about a large quantity of something, but we use “en masse” specifically for a large group of people, or things gathered.
How Do You Use En Masse in a Sentence?
- All of the protesters marched en masse to the capital building during the pandemic.
- We watched as the birds flew en masse across the sky, creating a beautiful spectacle.
- The Dominion and Loblaws employees resigned en masse to protest the company’s union policies.
- The kids all filed outside en masse during the fire drill.
- Most students rushed to the library en masse to study for their final exams instead of taking their work home.
- Our fans cheered en masse as the team scored the winning goal in the game’s final seconds. We couldn’t have done it without them.
- In the Spring, the wildflowers bloom en masse, covering the hillside with a sea of colors and fragrances.
- Their army marched en masse towards our stronghold, ready to engage in battle.
- My best friends and I rushed into the store en masse, hoping to snag some of the Black Friday sales.
I love using French words in English; they always add fun and color to a conversation and even my writing. You should be comfortable using en masse now and play around with other French words adopted into the English language!
Enjoyed reading about French words? Check out some others we covered: