Nouns are an essential part of any language, and understanding how to form their plural is crucial for effective communication.
In English, there are rules for forming plural nouns, but there are also many exceptions to those rules. This post will cover the different ways of forming regular and irregular plural nouns.
One of the most common ways of forming the plural of regular nouns is by adding -s to the singular form. The table below shows some examples:
For nouns that end in -s, -x, -ch, and -sh, the plural is formed by adding -es to the singular form. Some nouns that end in -z also double their ending consonant, like quizzes. The table below shows some examples:
For nouns that end in -fe, the plural is formed by changing the -f to -v and adding -es. For nouns that end in -f, the plural is formed by adding -s. The table below shows some examples:
For nouns that end in -y, and the preceding letter is a consonant, the plural is formed by changing the -y to -i and adding -es.
For nouns that end in -y, and the preceding letter is a vowel, the plural is formed by adding -s. The table below shows some examples:
Most nouns ending in -o add the plural suffix -es, but many words with a foreign origin simply add -s. The table below shows some examples:
Some nouns do not follow any rules when forming the plural, and they are considered irregular. Some examples of irregular plural nouns include children, goose, and mice. The table below shows some examples:
Read our full list of irregular plural nouns.
There are also some nouns that do not change in the plural form. These include moose, fish, deer, aircraft, and others. The table below shows some examples:
Many English words have their roots in Latin and Greek languages, and some of these words have unique rules for forming plurals.
While many English plurals follow a consistent pattern, there are some specific patterns for words of Greek and Latin origin. Understanding their pluralization requires memorization and understanding of their linguistic origins.
The following rules are all examples of plural rules of Latin and Greek origin.
Nouns ending in -is that are derived from Latin and Greek often have an irregular plural form that changes the -is ending to -es.
Nouns ending in -us that are derived from Latin often have an irregular plural form that changes the -us ending to -i.
Some of these words however also have anglicized plural forms, formed by adding -es . In such instances both plurals are grammatically correct.
Nouns ending in -on that are derived from Greek often have an irregular plural form that changes the -on ending to -a.
These nouns can also be pluralized in a more modern way of simply adding an -s to the end of the word.
Nouns ending in -um that are derived from Latin often have an irregular plural form that changes the -um ending to -a.
This is another group of nouns which can be pluralized in a more modern form of English by adding -s to the end of the word.
Nouns ending in -ix or -ex that are derived from Latin often have an irregular plural form that changes the -ix or -ex ending to -ices or -es.
You can also form some of these plurals by adding the suffix -es to the end of the word.
Forming plural nouns in English can be challenging, as there are many rules to follow, but also many exceptions to those rules. The most important thing is to learn the different patterns and practice using them. By mastering plural nouns, you can improve your writing and speaking skills and avoid common mistakes.
One helpful tip is to read extensively in English and take note of how plural nouns are used in context. This will help you understand the rules and exceptions better and also give you a feel for the language.
Additionally, you can use online resources such as GrammarGiant's plural list and grammar books to reinforce your understanding and to check your work.