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Plural Nouns: Rules with Example

Grade 5
Aug 27, 2022

Read the following sentences: 

  1. A kid is skiing. 
  2. Two kids are making an ice sculpture. 
  3. Three kids are playing with each other. 

One of the most important and inevitable parts of a sentence is the subject. 

In all the three sentences above, the subjects are, as usual, nouns. But there is a change in the form of the nouns in all the three sentences. 

 In the first sentence, the noun is kid, and in the subsequent sentences, it is kids.  

While the noun in the first sentence denotes one thing, the nouns in the next two sentences denote more than one thing. 

When a noun denotes one person or thing, it is said to be in the singular number, like; 


Boy, girl, bird, book, tree, car, etc. 

When a noun denotes more than one person or thing, it is said to be in the plural number, like; 

Boys, girls, birds, books, trees, cars, etc. 

It is important to keep in mind certain rules while forming the plural nouns from their singular counterparts.  

Rule 1: 

Most nouns generally take their plural form by adding -s to the singular, like; 

  • Boy, boys 
  • Girl, girls 
  • Book, books 
  • Pen, pens 
  • Car, cars 

Rule 2: 

Nouns ending in -s, -sh, -ch, or -x and most nouns ending in -o usually form their plural by adding -es to the singular, like; 

  • Class, classes 
  • Watch, watches 
  • Dish, dishes 
  • Box, boxes 
  • Buffalo, buffaloes 
  • Mango, mangoes 
  • Potato, potatoes 
  • Hero, heroes 

Rule 3: 

There are a few nouns ending in -o that form plural merely by adding -s to the singular, like; 

  • Piano, pianos 
  • Dynamo, dynamos 
  • Kilo, kilos 
  • Photo, photos 
  • Commando, commandos 

Rule 4: 

Nouns ending in -y, when preceded by a consonant, form their plural by changing -y into -i and adding -es, like; 

  • Lady, ladies 
  • Baby, babies 
  • Army, armies 
  • Story, stories 
  • City, cities 

Rule 5: 

There are nouns ending in -f or -fe that form their plural by changing -f or -fe into v and adding -es. They are; 

  • Thief, thieves 
  • Life, lives 
  • Half, halves 
  • Loaf, loaves 
  • Wife, wives 
  • Knife, knives 
  • Calf, calves 
  • Wolf, wolves 
  • Shelf, shelves 
  • Leaf, leaves 

But nouns like scarf, dwarf, hoof, and wharf take either -s or -ves in the plural; 

  • Dwarfs or dwarves 
  • Scarfs or scarves 
  • Wharfs or wharves 
  • Hoofs or hooves 

Most other words ending in -f or -fe take their plural form by adding -s, like; 

  • Chief, chiefs 
  • Gulf, gulfs 
  • Safe, safes 
  • Cliff, cliffs 
  • Proof, proofs 
  • Handkerchief, handkerchiefs 


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