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Plural Nouns

Aug 30, 2022

Read the following pairs of sentences: 

  • My book is missing. 
    My books are missing. 
  • The shop is open. 
    The shops are open. 
  • The box is full. 
    The boxes are full. 

The change in form of the noun in second sentences of each pair. 

The nouns in the first sentences of each pair denote one thing, and the nouns in the second sentences of each pair denote more than one thing. 

A noun referring to a single person or thing is said to be in Singular Number, like; 

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

A noun referring to more than one person or thing, is said to be in Plural Number, like; 


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

 But there are certain things, let’s say rules, to keep in mind while forming the plural nouns from their singular counterparts.  

Let us learn the rules  

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 
  • Kiss, kisses 
  • Watch, watches 
  • Dish, dishes 
  • Box, boxes 
  • Tax, taxes 
  • Buffalo, buffaloes 
  • Mango, mangoes 
  • Potato, potatoes 
  • Hero, heroes 
  • Cargo, cargoes 

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 
  • Sheaf, sheaves 
  • Knife, knives 
  • Calf, calves 
  • Wolf, wolves 
  • Elf, elves 
  • Shelf, shelves 
  • Leaf, leaves 
  • Self, selves 

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 

Rule 6: 

There are a few nouns that change the inside vowel of the singular to form their plural, like; 

  • Man, men 
  • Goose, geese 
  • Mouse, mice 
  • Woman, women 
  • Foot, feet 
  • Tooth, teeth 

Rule 7: 

A few nouns form their plural by adding -en to the singular, like; 

  • Ox, oxen 
  • Child, children 

Rule 8: 

There are some nouns that have their singular and their plurals alike, like; 

Swine, sheep, deer, luggage, aircraft, furniture, trout, salmon, series, species, spacecraft, etc. 

Rule 9: 

Some nouns are always used only in the plural: 

  1. Names of instruments that have two parts forming a kind of pair, like; 
    Bellows, scissors, spectacles, etc. 
  1. Names of certain articles of dress, like; 
    Jeans, trousers, drawers, shorts, etc. 

Rule 10: 

Certain collective nouns, though they are singular in form, are always used as plurals, like; 

Poultry, cattle, vermin, people, gentry. 

Rule 11: 

Compound nouns generally form their plurals by adding -s to the principal word, like; 

  • Son-in-law – Sons-in law 
  • Commander-in-chief – Commanders-in-chief 
  • Looker-on – Lookers-on 
  • Stepson – Stepsons 
  • Passer-by – Passers-by 


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