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Noun-Number | How to Make Plural Nouns? | Examples & Quiz

Updated on December 3, 2015
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Muhammad Rafiq is a freelance writer, blogger, and translator with a Master's Degree in English literature from the University of Malakand.

How to Make Plural Nouns?
How to Make Plural Nouns? | Source

Singular & Plural Nouns

The number of noun refers to its singular and plural forms. There are two numbers in English language— Singular and Plural. When a noun indicates only one thing, then such a noun is called a singular noun, while a noun, which denotes more than one thing, is called a plural noun. For example, boy is a singular noun, while boys is a plural noun. Similarly, girl is a singular noun, while girls is a plural noun.

How to Make Plural Nouns?

The following rules are used to form plural nouns:

Rule # 1

The first rule is one of the most important rules for forming plural nouns. It is the addition of s to the end of the singular noun. Look at the following table, wherein the singular nouns have been made plural by adding simply s to them:

Singular
Plural
Boy
Boys
Girl
Girls
Book
Books
Pen
Pens
Desk
Desks
Cow
Cows
Chair
Chairs
Novel
Novels
Drama
Dramas

Rule # 2

The second rule is the addition of es to the nouns ending on s, sh, ch, O and x. To form plural of such nouns, add es to them. Look at the following examples:

Singular
Plural
Class
Classes
Watch
Watches
Kiss
Kisses
Tax
Taxes
Match
Matches
Box
Boxes
Branch
Branches
Mango
Mangoes
Potato
Potatoes

Rule # 3

Some foreign words don’t require es to form their plurals. They require only addition of s. Look at the examples, wherein only s is added to the singular noun:

Singular
Plural
Photo
Photos
Dynamo
Dynomos
Solo
Solos
Piano
Pianos
Kilo
Kilos
Logo
Logos
Canto
Cantos
Commando
Commandos
Stereo
Stereos

Rule # 4

Those nouns ending on y and preceded by a consonant are changed into plurals by changing the letter y into ies. Look at the following examples:

Singular
Plural
Lady
Ladies
Baby
Babies
Story
Stories
City
Cities
Army
Armies
Pony
Ponies
Fly
Flies

Rule # 5

Add ves to the nouns ending on f or fe by replacing them with ves. In the following examples, f or fe of nouns are replaced with ves to form their plurals:

Singular
Plural
Wife
Wives
Knife
Knives
Life
Lives
Leaf
Leaves
Half
Halves
Shelf
Shelves
Sheaf
Sheaves
Self
Selves
Calf
Calves

Rule # 6

The following nouns are exception to the rule # 5. They take either s or ves to form plurals. For example, the singular nouns in the following table have two plural forms:

Singular
Plural
Dwarf
Dwarfs/Dwarves
Hoof
Hoofs/Hooves
Wharf
Wharfs/Wharves
Scarf
Scarfs/Scarves

Rule # 7

Though, the following nouns end on f or fe, yet they require addition of s to form plurals:

Singular
Plural
Gulf
Gulfs
Chief
Chiefs
Cliff
Cliffs
Proof
Proofs
Safe
Safes
Handkerchief
Handkerchiefs

Rule # 8

The following nouns take en to form their plurals:

Singular
Plural
Ox
Oxen
Child
Children

Rule # 9

The following nouns have the same singular and plural forms:

deer, cod, sheep, trout, aircraft, species, swine, spacecraft, pair, dozen, score, hundred, thousand, gross.

Examples:

  1. Male deer has antlers.
  2. Male deer have antlers.
  3. Markhor is a rare species.
  4. Both species can be found here.
  5. Combat aircraft flies with high speed.
  6. Aircraft are made of aluminum.
  7. He bought a dozen of oranges.
  8. He bought four dozen oranges.

Rule # 10

The following nouns are used only in plural forms:

bellows, tongs, scissors, pincers, spectacles, drawers, breeches, jeans, tights, shorts, pyjamas, shorts, thanks, tidings, assets, nuptials, obsequies, chattels and annals.

Rule # 11

Though, the following nouns seem to be plural, yet they are always used in singular forms:

mathematics, physics, electronics, measles, mumps, rickets, draughts, innings etc.

Examples:

  1. He is doing masters in Mathematics.
  2. Every news is good news.
  3. Physics is a good subject for you.
  4. Billiards is his favourite game.
  5. He is suffering from measles.

Rule # 12

Though, the following nouns seem to be singular, yet they are always used in plural forms:

Poultry, cattle, people, gentry, vermin.

  1. The poultry are a good source of income.
  2. Whose are these cattle?
  3. People are coming towards us.
  4. The gentry of this town are famous for their kindness.
  5. Vermin will destroy your crops.

Rule # 13

Add s to the principal word in compound nouns to form its plural. For example:

Singular
Plural
Son-in-Law
Sons-in-Law
Commander-in-chief
Commanders-in-chief
Step-son
Step-sons
Step-daughter
Step-daughters
Passer-by
Passers-by
Looker-on
Lookers-on
Man-of-war
Men-of-war

Rule # 14

Many foreign nouns keep their plural forms in English. For example:

Singular
Plural
Index
Indices
Erratum
Errata
Axis
Axes
Formula
Formulae
Terminus
Termini
Crisis
Crises
Basis
Bases
Parenthesis
Parentheses
Phenomenon
Phenomena
Analysis
Analyses
Criterion
Criteria
Hypothesis
Hypotheses
Bandit
Banditti
Madame
Mesdames
Monsieur
Messieurs
Seraph
Seraphim
Cherub
Cherubim

Rule # 15

Add apostrophe and s to the letters, symbols and figures to form their plural. For example:

  1. There are only a’s and c’s in this word.
  2. Omit i’s and a’s.
  3. You can add as many as 7’s to the final product.
  4. Please, cross the 9’s in this page.

Rule # 16

Uncountable nouns have no plurals. They are always used as singular. For example, kindness, love, copper, iron, wood, iron, steel etc. are all uncountable nouns. That’s why; they are sued as singular.

© 2015 Muhammad Rafiq

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