ESL – Plural nouns

2 March

Plural nouns


Nouns are words that indicate objects, things, places and people such as: computer, chair, beach, janitor, etc. Nouns are one of the eight parts of speech in English. Nouns that speak about objects you can count have two forms: the singular and the plural.

This guide to the plural noun forms will help you understand how to make regular and irregular noun plurals. There are also irregular verb forms in English that need to be studied.  Here are the main rules with some examples:

Regular Noun Plural Forms – Just Add ‘S’

computer -> computers
bag -> bags
book -> books
table -> tables
house -> houses

Singular noun – y + ies = plural noun

baby -> babies
party -> parties
paddy -> paddies
hobby -> hobbies
lady -> ladies

Singular noun ending in sh, ch, s, x or z + es = plural noun

beach -> beaches
box -> boxes
church -> churches
buzz -> buzzes
loss -> losses

Singular noun ending in consonant ‘o’ + es = plural noun

tomato -> tomatoes

hero -> heroes
zero -> zeroes
potato -> potatoes
echo -> echoes

Other nouns that that end in ‘o’ proceeded by a consonant DO NOT require an ‘e’ before ‘s’ to be placed at the end of the word. Nouns ending in ‘o’ proceeded by a vowel do not change.

kilo -> kilos

radio -> radios
logo -> logos
piano -> pianos
solo -> solos

Unfortunately, there is no clear rule as to when to add an ‘es’ or just ‘s’. These plurals need to be learnt on their own.

Singular noun ending in consonant ‘lf’ – ‘lf’ + ‘ves’ = plural noun

leaf -> leaves
half -> halves
self -> selves
wife -> wives
knife -> knives

Irregular Noun Plural Forms – Different Spellings

There are a number of irregular plurals that change spellings in different ways such as ‘man’ to ‘men’ and ‘ouse’ to ‘ice’ here are some of the most common:
man -> men

woman -> women
child -> children
foot -> feet
person -> people
mouse -> mice
tooth -> teeth
die -> dice

Animal Plurals

There are many animals that have irregular plural forms. Some animals do not change when forming the plural.
deer -> deer

fish -> fish
sheep -> sheep
trout -> trout
squid -> squid

Other animals change form in the plural.

mouse -> mice

goose -> geese
ox -> oxen
louse -> lice

Irregular Noun Plural Forms – Nouns That Remain the Same in Singular and Plural

Nouns that do not have a plural form are also known as uncountable or non-count nouns. These nouns include concepts, materials, liquids as well as others.
concepts: advice, fun, honesty, information, ambition, etc.

materials: steel, wood, plastic, stone, concrete, wool, etc.
liquids: water, wine, beer, soda, oil, gasoline, etc.

Still other nouns remain the same whether in the singular or plural. These nouns take the plural conjugation of tenses, but remain the same spelling. Here are some examples with sentences to indicate the difference between singular and plural usage.

crossroads -> crossroads

There is a crossroads at the end of this street.

There are a number of crossroads between here and downtown.

series -> series

The new series about a robot is great.

There are four new series on this month

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