Plural Nouns in English
in English. Nouns can either be singular or plural. It is usually easy
to create plural nouns in English
but there are some exceptions. In this lesson, you will learn regular
plural nouns rules and irregular plural nouns rules. At the end, you
can practice with Plural
Click Here for Step-by-Step Rules, Stories and Exercises to Practice All English Tenses
Singular and plural nouns
An English noun
is a word that names a person, place, or thing.
Tim, Lisa, Mexico, New York City, house, dog, cat, chair, boy, girl,
A singular noun
(apple, pencil, girl) refers to one person or thing.
A plural noun
(apples, pencils, girls) refers to more than one person
It is usually easy to create plural
nouns in English
by adding -s
to the singular form, but there are some exceptions to keep in mind. In
this lesson, you will learn the regular and irregular plural nouns
1. Add -s
Plural nouns rules
can make the plural form of most nouns
by adding -s to the singular form.
- dog => dogs
- cup => cups
- girl => girls
- television => televisions
- desk => desks
- school => schools
- book => books
- number => numbers
- computer => computers
- chip => chips
- boy => boys
2. Nouns ending in -ch, -s, -sh, -x, or -z
If the noun ends in
-ch, -s, -sh, -x, or -z, add -es to form plural
- box =>
ending in -f or -fe
If the noun ends in
-f /-fe, change the f / fe to -ves to form plurals.
4. Nouns ending in -o
If the noun ends in
-o, add -es to form plural nouns.
- buffalo => buffaloes
- potato => potatoes
- echo => echoes
- tomato => tomatoes
- hero => heroes
- volcano => volcanoes
5. Nouns ending in y
If a noun
ends in a vowel
then -y, add -s.
If a noun
ends in a consonant
then -y, remove -y and add -ies.
- jelly => jellies
- sky => skies
Irregular plural nouns
in English have an irregular plural form. That means that the plural
form does not follow the rules above. It is important to memorize the
most common ones.
Identical singular and plural forms
in English have the same singular and plural forms. This means that you
don’t add an -s to these words. It is important to memorize these.
- fish => fish (fishes is correct, but much less common)
- deer => deer (not deers)
- moose => moose (not mooses)
- series => series (not serieses)
- species => species (not specieses)
- aircraft => aircraft (not aircrafts)
- salmon => salmon (not salmons)
- shrimp => shrimp (shrimps is also correct)
- sheep => sheep (not sheeps)
in English do not have a singular form. They are only plural. This
means that we cannot use them as singular nouns.
Many of these plural-only nouns are used with the word pair
- pants => a pair of pants
- trousers => a pair of trousers
- scissors => a pair of scissors
- glasses => a pair of glasses
Countable and uncountable nouns
in English are countable
. This means we can
say how many there are of the noun.
- girl => five girls
- boy => one boy
- fish => ten fish
- dog => three dogs
. This means that we cannot
say how many there are of the noun. These
nouns are always singular and are used with a singular verb.
- sugar => Sugar is sweet.
- milk => The milk is in the cup.
- coffee => The coffee is fresh.
- money => Money makes me happy.
- food => The food is spicy.
- work => The work is too hard.
- hope => Hope keeps dreams alive.
- water => The water is cold.
- electricity => The electricity is off.
- love => Love is important.
- news => The news was surprising.
To create the plural form of a compound noun
the plural ending is usually added to the main noun.
- sister-in-law => sisters-in-law
- full moon => full moons
- stepsister => stepsisters
- sportsman => sportsmen
- lady-in-waiting => ladies-in-waiting
- toothbrush => toothbrushes
- doctor of philosophy => doctors
You can learn more about English compound nouns here: Compound
Nouns (soon to come!)
Collective nouns are nouns
that describe a group, for example: class, family, herd, couple.
There are about
200 collective nouns in English. Some are used as singular nouns, and
some are used as plural nouns. Unfortunately, there are no good rules
for knowing if a collective noun should be used as a singular noun or a
Many collective nouns can be singular
depending on how they are used in a sentence.
Here is one way to decide if a collective noun is singular or plural:
Singular collective nouns
When members of the group of a collective noun do things as a group or
team, the collective noun is singular. Use a singular verb.
- class => The class is watching a movie. (It is watching a
- herd => The herd moves fast. (It moves fast.)
- United States => The United States celebrates Christmas in
December. (It celebrates Christmas in December.)
- family => The family takes a picture. (It takes a
Plural collective nouns
When members of the group of a collective noun do things
as individuals, the collective noun is plural. Use a plural verb.
- police => The police protect the people. (They protect the
- people => The people watch the parade. (They watch the
- family => My family are always fighting amongst themselves.
(They are always fighting amongst themselves.)
, most collective nouns are used as singular nouns.
Of course there are exceptions to this rule. Collective nouns are
different in different forms
You can learn more about English collective nouns here: Collective
plural noun rules