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Plural Nouns:

Every noun is either singular or plural. The singular means only one; the plural means more than one. There are four ways to form the plurals of nouns:

1. By adding an “s” to the singular (horses, kites, rivers)

2. By adding “es” to the singular (houses, churches, dishes)

3. By changing the singular (man - men, woman - women, child - children, baby - babies)

4. By leaving the singular as it is (moose, deer, and sheep are all plural as well as singular)


Important: The singular or plural noun determines the verb or connecting words. For example, notice the use of “is” and “are”:

A boy is crying.

The boys are crying.

Where the subject is singular, use “is” and in plural, use “are.”



1)  For nouns ending in s (s), sh, x, ch and z, add “es” to form the plural. Examples: Gas – Gases, Bush – Bushes


2)  For nouns ending in a “y”, drop the “y” and add “ies”. Examples: Lorry – Lorries, Baby – Babies


3)  For nouns ending in a “f or fe”, drop the “f or fe” and add “ves”.      Examples: Knife – Knives, Loaf – Loaves. Some exceptions to this rule are: Cliff – Cliffs, Belief – Beliefs.


4)  Foreign plurals: For words ending in “us”, drop the “us” and add “i”.

Examples: Cactus – Cacti, Alumnus – Alumni.


5)  For words ending in “is” drop “i” and replace with “e”. Examples: Axis – Axes, Analysis – Analyses.


6)  For words ending in “um”, drop “um” and add “a”. Examples: Bacterium – Bacteria, Datum – Data.


7)  For words plural in form but singular in meaning, always use in plural.

        Examples: News, Species, Billiards, Rickets.   


8)  Compound word plurals: joining two or more nouns forms a compound word. For example, Bathtub and Handgun. For such words the plural is normally formed by adding an “s” at the end.


        Howevers if the first noun refers to a person, we add “s” to the first noun.

        Examples: Son in law - Sons in law, Runner up – Runners up.


9)  The word people can be used either in the singular or plural depending on the context. Example: The people have revolted against the government.

 The Irish are a hot-tempered people.

The various peoples of India speak myriad languages.

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