My question is: do we have to follow the "vous" with the verb in plural even if the sentence refers to a singular subject? Example: Is "You love me (singular)" correctly translated as "Vous aimez moi (formal)" / "Tu aimes moi (informal)"?
Correct me if I have made any mistakes - both in english or in french - please.
Yes. I know in Spanish there is a separate formal singular and separate formal plural, but not in French, nor in English.
There is not a separate conjuation for vous for singular. Vous can be singular or plural with its own conjugation. In English we say "You are one person." and "You are many people." In French "Vous êtes une personne." and "Vous êtes des millions de personnes." Vous is also the plural of tu. So it covers the Spanish Vosotros/vosotras, Usted and Ustedes.
Here is a list of the French pronouns: http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/pronouns.htm
The direct object pronoun would be "me" and it is placed directly in front of the verb. In this case the verb starts with a vowel so "me" becomes "m' "
"Vous m'aimez (formal singular)" / "Tu m'aimes. (informal singular)
it's not frozen rules. In some firm, you say "tu" to your boss, in some firm, you're forced to say "vous", in some firm, you boss say "tu" to you, in some firm he prefers to keep distance or to show respect with "vous", etc... In most of the school (with some exceptions for young children's classes), you have to say "vous" to your teacher, but the teacher may say "tu" or "vous" to the pupils according to the kind of school, the age of the pupil, etc. There's no frozen rules. When you meet someone, you can say "vous" to the unknow, but it depends on the age (I wouldn't say "tu" to an old lady who is not from my family, except if she ask me, and even if she asks, I would probably feel uncomfortable with it). If 2 young people met, they won't say "vous" even if they doesn't know each other.
'If 2 young people met, they won't say "vous" even if they doesn't know each other.'
The difficult thing is to know if someone is a "young person". Teenagers for sure, twenty-somethings probably, thirty-sometings more difficult to know, fourty-someting impossible to know, fifty-something probably not - my personal guessings.
So, which ages are considered young? Or is it same age as oneself and younger that counts as young?
It depends on the etiquette, the education, the place, the circumstances, etc.. It's a general trend. 2 people in their early 20's it will be (almost) always the case for "tu", after, it depends on the circumstances, where they met, who witness it, etc...
On the internet the general rule (netiquette) is "tu", but a lot of people doesn't feel cumfortable to say "tu" to strangers, or thinks it's impolite. It depends also the kind of site, etc...
Family members who are younger than you and very close friends.
It is respectful to use vous with those who are older than you. So in public where I might introduce my parents as my mother and father, I would use "vous". At home where I might be inclined to say mom and dad, I could use the familiar "tu". You must have permission to use "tu". You may have a grandparent who prefers the formal version and you would honor that. It is always best to let your elder tell you, "Oh, you can call me ......( less formal version of Grandmother or Grandfather.)" Then, you will know. Chances are, that if someone you know wants you to call them by their first name, they might not be offended by "tu", but I always wait for them to complain that I don't need to be formal with them. A little respect can go a long way.
No Allintolearning, I disagree with your definitions here. It's not such frozen rules. In most French family you say "tu" to all your family, even if there are older than you, but maybe in some very upper class family you say "vous", it's very scarce nowadays. The exception can be with your family by marriage, but no rules, you can say either "vous" or "to" to your sister or brother-in-law, mother/ father-in-law, everyone choose between "you" and "tu" according to the situation/one's feels/their social class/what seems to be accepted by other family members or how one's find it comfortable. I never saw someone who was saying "vous" to his/her close parents even it they're old, I'm a French. Maybe in other French speaking countries, it's a little different?
"tu" is the informal or familiar singular you to be used as a subject. "toi" is the emphasized version of informal singular you, which replaces "te" the object version of informal singular you in many situations.
Vous is also familiar plural as well as formal singular and formal plural. It covers vós/vos and vocês
Yes, the spoken and written forms of French are different. But they do say exactly what is written - but according to French spelling and pronunciation rules, of course.
English is equally confusing to learn for non English speakers. And I assure you, the spelling and pronunciation do not always match in English either, seen from another language perspective!
Yes and no. They both mean "And you", but they are used in different situations.
"Et toi" is used to address one person only, and in an informal, familiar way accepted by children, young persons, family and close friends.
"Et vous" is used to either address one person in a formal way, suitable for strangers and non-close persons as socially higher ranked persons, or to address more than one person either informally or formally (no different between informal plural or formal plural).
The familiar "tu" form? Now it's natural. It's a matter of generation I guess. There's situations where you are forced to say "vous". But there's a lot of situations where you can use "tu" even if you don't know the person, and without being insulting or scornful by example, on the internet, the usage is to say to everyone "tu". ("nétiquette") In general, moderators prefer to say "vous" (though it depends on which sites)
It depends what was previously said. "Tu" is the subject form of the familiar you pronoun. "Toi" is the stressed version of this pronoun. So, it is used in this case. The object form "te" is changed to "toi" for emphasis.
See the following table of French pronouns: http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/pronouns.htm
"Tu" exist only when used as the subject pronoun and has to be used only when it's a subject. Its forms as a non-subject, a complement ar: toi, te or t'. Ex: Tu es aimé: you are loved (tu: subject); Je t'aime (t'= contraction for "te", not a subject but the complement of "aime", an object pronoun); Je viens avec toi (I come with you): not a subject, indirect complement, used with a preposition, "avec". Here you have to say "ET TOI" (it's not subject, you can't use the "tu" form)
"Et vous? " = "E você?"
I am from California. Mes parents viennent de Montreal.