This is something that I've wondered about for a long time. It's something that is so striking that it's surprising that I can't find more topics on it. Why has French lost most of its verb and plural endings and even more bemusing is, why have all these silent unpronounced letters been preserved in the written language? I guess my question is twofold. What has led French to lack a distinct plural of the majority of nouns and why have verb endings been lost in the spoken language? And second, why do all these useless written endings still persist when they really don't exist in real life? In no other language have I seen such a thing. Written French would lead one to believe that it's morphology and verb conjugations are as complex as, say, Spanish or Italian. But they really aren't. If one looks at the present indicative of -er verbs, four out of six forms are identical but spelled with non-existent inflections while another is identical to the infinitive form as well as the past participle. Only one is distinct. Why are these endings kept? To me, it would be like using Old English verb conjugations in modern English and not pronouncing them. I can't imagine writing "they singen" but saying "they sing". And the plural marker -s has disappeared too. Why complicate things unnecessarily? Why haven't non-existent endings such as -es, -e, -ent, -ait, -ais, etc. been done away with? And what led to this drastic reduction in verb endings in the first place? How did the plural mostly become silent? It seems so uncharacteristic of Romance languages.