Essential Plural Nouns Rules | Singular and Plural Nouns

Plural nouns are an important aspect of language that allow us to talk about more than one person, place, or thing. However, the rules for forming plural nouns can be confusing, especially for non-native speakers. In this article, we will explore what plural nouns are, how to form them, and provide examples to help you better understand their usage. We will also discuss common mistakes to avoid when using them. So, let’s dive in and explore the world of plural nouns!

Singular and Plural Nouns

Singular and Plural Nouns! Learn how to form regular plural nouns in English with useful grammar rules and example sentences.Pin

What is a Singular Noun?

A singular noun is a noun that represents a single person, place, thing, or idea. Identifying singular nouns in a sentence or context is pretty easy, provided you have a deep understanding of what they entail. Unlike plural nouns and irregular plural nouns with a set of rules that need to be followed, singular nouns don’t require the addition of letters or change in spelling.

Examples of a Singular Noun

If you glare at one object and give it a name, you have an instance of a singular noun. For example, there is one book on my table and one pen on my chair. In this sentence, the nouns include book, table, pen, and chair. All these nouns are singular because they represent only one.

Additional Examples of a Singular Noun

(1) Singular nouns that identify a person

His grandfather likes to visit museums regularly.

Other singular nouns that can be used in place of grandfather include: father, grandmother

(2) Singular nouns that identify a place

  • Park, City, Town
  • Ocean, Sea, River
  • State, Country, Continent

(3) Singular nouns that identify a thing

  • Computer, Train, Ruler
  • Letter, Bicycle, Picture
  • Yacht, Doll, Floor

(4) Singular nouns that represent an idea

  • Pride, Love, Thought
  • Hate, Truth, Dream

Note that singular refers to one.

What is a Plural Noun?

Plural nouns are nouns that represent more than one person, place, thing, or idea. Plural nouns are formed from singular nouns by adding an –s at the end. There are numerous varying rules pertaining to pluralization based on what letter a noun ends in. Irregular nouns don’t adhere to rules governing plural nouns; therefore, they must be mastered or searched for in the dictionary.

In order to make a singular noun plural, normally add the letter s at the end. With that said, let’s dive into rules governing regular plural nouns.

Singular  Plural
Rat Rats
Girl Girls
Boy Boys
Book Books
Town Towns
Dream Dreams

Plural Nouns

General Rules to Form Plural Nouns

Most singular nouns are made plural by adding -s to the end of the singular form.

Singular and Plural Nouns Examples:

  • car – cars
  • bag – bags
  • table – tables
  • house – houses
  • dog – dogs

Special Rules to Form Plural Nouns

Nouns Ending in a Sibilant Sound

When a noun ends in a sibilant sound – /s/, /z/, /ʃ/, /ʒ/, /tʃ/ or /dʒ/ – the plural is formed by adding -es, or -s if the singular already ends in -e.

Singular and Plural Nouns Examples:

  • kiss – kisses – /ˈkɪsɨz/
  • dish – dishes – /ˈdɪʃɨz/
  • witch – witches – /ˈwɪtʃɨz/
  • judge – judges – /ˈdʒʌdʒɨz/

Nouns Ending in ‘f’ or ‘fe’

The plural form of some nouns that end in ‘f’ or ‘fe’ is made by changing the ending to -ves.

Singular and Plural Nouns Examples:

  • half – halves
  • hoof – hooves
  • calf – calves
  • elf – elves
  • shelf – shelves
  • leaf – leaves
  • loaf – loaves
  • thief – thieves
  • wolf – wolves
  • life – lives
  • knife – knives
  • scarf – scarves
  • wife – wives

Exceptions:

  • cuff – cuffs
  • knockoff – knockoffs
  • chef – chefs
  • belief – beliefs
  • roof – roofs
  • chief – chiefs

Nouns Ending in -o

When a noun ends in “o” preceded by a consonant, the plural in many cases is spelled by adding -es.

Singular and Plural Nouns Examples:

  • potato – potatoes
  • tomato – tomatoes
  • hero – heroes
  • echo – echoes
  • veto – vetoes
  • domino – dominoes
  • mosquito – mosquitoes
  • volcano – volcanoes

Exceptions:

  • piano – pianos
  • photo – photos
  • halo – halos
  • soprano – sopranos

Nouns that end in ‘o’ preceded by a vowel are made plural by adding -s.

Examples:

  • radio – radios
  • stereo – stereos
  • video – videos

Nouns Ending in -y

When the ‘y’ follows a consonant, changing ‘y’ to ‘i’ and adding -es.

Examples:

  • city – cities
  • candy – candies
  • country – countries
  • family – families
  • cherry – cherries
  • lady – ladies
  • puppy – puppies
  • party – parties

When the ‘y’ follows a vowel, the plural is formed by retaining the ‘y’ and adding -s.

Singular and Plural Nouns Examples:

  • day – days
  • holiday – holidays
  • ray – rays
  • boy – boys
  • toy – toys
  • key – keys
  • donkey – donkeys

Plural Noun Rules for Irregular Nouns

Irregular plural nouns don’t adhere to specific rules; therefore, it’s prudent to study them or search for accurate pluralization in the dictionary. Lack of definite rules makes it challenging to understand them. So, you must devote your time to study and memorize them. Otherwise, you’re bound to error when making use of irregular nouns in plural form.

Examples:

  • Child – children
  • Tooth – teeth
  • Foot – feet
  • Goose – geese
  • Mouse – mice

Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Adding “s” to irregular nouns

Irregular nouns have unique plural forms that do not follow the standard “add an s” rule. Some examples of irregular nouns are “child” (plural form: children), “mouse” (plural form: mice), and “tooth” (plural form: teeth). Be sure to learn the plural forms of irregular nouns to avoid this mistake.

Using incorrect plural forms of loanwords

Loanwords are words borrowed from other languages. Some loanwords have unique plural forms that do not follow the standard English pluralization rules. For example, the plural form of “taco” is “tacos,” not “tacoes.” When using loanwords, be sure to learn the correct plural forms to avoid this mistake.

Confusing plural and possessive forms

Plural nouns and possessive nouns both end in “s,” which can cause confusion. However, possessive nouns use an apostrophe before the “s,” while plural nouns do not. For example, “the cat’s toys” is possessive, while “the cats play with toys” is plural. Be sure to use the correct form to avoid this mistake.

Forgetting to pluralize countable nouns

Countable nouns are nouns that can be counted, such as “book” or “car.” When referring to more than one countable noun, be sure to pluralize the noun. For example, “I have two books” is correct, while “I have two book” is incorrect.

Singular and Plural Nouns Video

Learn more useful rules to form irregular plural nouns in English.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are regular and irregular plural nouns?

A plural noun is a noun that refers to more than one person, place, thing, or idea. Regular plural nouns are formed by adding an -s or -es to the end of the singular noun. For example, the singular noun “book” becomes “books” in its plural form. Irregular plural nouns, on the other hand, do not follow this rule and have unique forms. For example, the singular noun “child” becomes “children” in its plural form.

What are the rules for forming plural nouns ending in s, ss, sh, ch, x, or z?

When a singular noun ends in s, ss, sh, ch, x, or z, the plural is generally formed by adding -es to the end of the singular noun. For example, the singular noun “bus” becomes “buses” in its plural form. 

What are some common English plural endings?

In addition to adding -s or -es to the end of a singular noun, there are other common plural endings in English. For example, some nouns form their plural by changing the vowel sound in the middle of the word. For example, the singular noun “man” becomes “men” in its plural form. Other common plural endings include -ies (for nouns ending in -y), -ves (for nouns ending in -f or -fe), and -en (for some irregular nouns).

Last Updated on November 14, 2023

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