Singular and plural nouns:6 important rules+Irregular plural

Singular and plural nouns/Plurals of words

In this post, we’ll look at the plural and singular nouns, plurals rules, and some plurals exceptions.

Singular meaning:

Singular nouns are nouns that refer to one thing, one person, or one place.

Plural definition:

Plural nouns are nouns that refer to multiple things, people, or places, and they are derived from singular nouns.

Singular and plural nouns rules

singular and plural nouns

1. We form the plural of most nouns in English by adding ‘s’.

Here is a list of singular and plural nouns ending in ‘s’:

  • A book → 5 books
  • An apple → two apples
  • One pen → 3 pens
  • A computer →  computers
  • An orange →  oranges
  • A flower →  10 flowers
  • A girl →  girls
  • A friend →  friends
  • A dog → dogs
  • A cat → cats
  • A noun → nouns
  • A word →  words
  • A verb →  verbs
  • A school → schools
  • A teacher → teachers

2. Singular nouns ending in s, ss, sh, ch, x, z, and o form their plural by adding ‘es’

Examples:

  • A bus →  buses
  • A glass → glasses
  • A dish → dishes
  • A bush → bushes
  • A watch → watches
  • A torch →  torches
  • A fox → foxes
  • A box → boxes
  • A quiz → quizzes
  • A tomato → tomatoes
  • A potato → potatoes

The plural of quiz is formed by doubling z then adding es.

The plural of potato is potatoes

The plural of box is boxes

Exceptions:

  • A piano → piano
  • A radio → radio
  • A video → video
  • A photo  → photos

3. To form the of nouns ending in y preceded by a consonant, change y to i and add es

Examples:

  • A city → cities
  • A country → countries
  • A lorry → lorries
  • A baby → babies
  • A dictionary → dictionaries
  • A family → families

4. Nouns ending in y preceded by a vowel form their plurals by adding ‘s’

  • A toy → boys
  • A boy → toys
  • A monkey → monkeys
  • A donkey  → donkeys
  • A day → days

5. Nouns ending in f or fe form their plural by adding ves

Examples of plural words ending in ves (ves plural):

  • A leaf → leaves
  • One knife → knives
  • A thief →  thieves
  • A scarf → scarves/ scarfs

Exceptions:

  • A roof → roofs
  • A chief  → chiefs
  • A chef → chefs
  • A safe → safes
  • A roof → roofs
  • A handkerchief → handkerchiefs
  • A cliff → cliffs
  • A scarf → scarfs

6. Some nouns ending in o can take either s or es in the plural form:

  • Mosiquitos/mosquioes
  • Volcanos/volcanoes
  • Flamingos/flamingoes
  • Baffalos/baffaloes
  • Turnados/turnadoes
  • Zeros/zeroes

Plural of compound nouns

We form the plural of compound nouns by adding s or es to:

  1. the noun if the compound noun consists of an adjective and a noun (a frying pan → frying pans — A green onion → green onions — A flying fox → flying foxes — A flying boat → flying boats, etc.)
  2. the second noun if the compound noun consists of two nouns (A water sport → water sports — A ball game → ball games — A ballpoint pen → ballpoint pens)
  3. the noun if the compound consists of a noun and a preposition ( A passer-by → passers-by,
  4. the first noun in the compound noun consists of two nouns connected by prepositions ( A mother-in-law → mothers-in-law, a father-in-law → fathers-in-law)

Irregular plurals/irregular plural nouns (irregular nouns)

1. Singular and plural nouns are totally different:

  • A child → children
  • An ox → oxen
  • Mouse → mice
  • Louse → lice
  • Tooth → teeth
  • Foot → feet
  • goose → geese

2. Singular and plural nouns are the same (words that are the same singular and plural)

  • A fish → fish
  • A deer → deer
  • A sheep → sheep
  • Trout → trout
  • Salmon → salmon
  • Aircraft → aircraft
  • Spacecraft → spacecraft
  • Hovercraft → hovercraft
  • Species → species
  • Means → means

Nouns used only in the plural form

  • Clothes
  • Pants
  • Trousers
  • Jeans
  • Shorts
  • Pyjamas
  • Knickers
  • Tights
  • Glasses
  • Sunglasses
  • Scissors
  • Headphones
  • Binoculars

Singular and plural nouns exercises (plural exercises)

Complete these sentences. Use the plural form of the nouns between brackets.

  1. There are 12 ……….in our neighborhood. (family)
  2. This computer game is for……over ten years old. (child)
  3. There are 11……..in a football team. (player)
  4. ……fall in autumn. (leaf)
  5. My mother is talking to two …….outside. (woman)
  6. Two……..are at the door right now. (policeman)
  7. Our English……are in room 6. (class)
  8. You can buy……in a bookshop. (dictionary)
  9. The kids are chasing……..(butterfly)
  10. I need someone to help me with these……..(box)
  11. Hundreds of……..attended the international conference. (person)
  12. Lots of…..close at 9.00 p.m. (shop)
  13. I had some financial …….last month. (worry)
  14. Employees complain about lack of equal …….(opportunity)
  15. …….outnumber girls in this class. (boy)
  16. I like……(bird)
  17. Some students enjoy performing…..and musicals. (play)
  18. My cat likes to chase……(mouse)
  19. I brush my……after meals. (tooth)
  20. Two……broke into my house and stole my computer. (thief)

Here is an article about compound nouns and compound adjectives

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