Formation of Plural Nouns

REMEMBER: A noun is a word that names anything in the world. E.g. man, woman, boy, girl, John, Victoria, dog, table, car etc.

Rule 1: Add ‘-es‘ to the singular noun if it ends in:
(i) –s:   boss( sing.)   bosses( pl., boss + es)
buss                           busses
class                          classes

(ii) –x :  box(sing) boxes(pl, box +es)
fox                foxes
lax                 laxes

(iii) –z : buzz(sing) buzzes(pl, buzz + es)
fizz              fizzes

(iv) –sh:    bush(sing) bushes( pl, bush + es)
brush          brushes

(v) –ch:     bitch( sing.) bitches( bitch + es)
watch              watches
parch               parches

EXCEPTION: If the –ch ending is pronounced with a ‘k’ sound, add –s rather than –es.
E.g stomach( singular) stomachs( plural)
epoch                          epochs

(vi) –consonant + -o( -o preceeded by a consonant) :   Hero( sing.) Heroes(pl.)
mango           mangoes
volcano        volcanoes
potato          potatoes
buffalo        buffaloes
mosquito   mosquitoes
tomatoes     tomatoes
EXCEPTIONS: There are some nouns that violate this rule by simply taking ‘s‘ instead of ‘es‘.
E.g motto( singular) mottos(plural)
logo                        logos
photo                    photos
kilo                        kilos
piano                   pianos                                     zero                      zeros                                      solo                       solos                                         alto                       altos

Rule 2: Add ‘-s‘ to nouns ending in:
(i) a vowel + o( a vowel preceeding -o)
Ratio( sing., i preceeds o) Ratios( pl., s added)
radio                   radios

(ii) –ge :  Badge(sing)        Badges(pl.).                         Grudge                  grudges

(iii) two vowels + -f ( 2 vowels preceeding -f)
E.g chief( singular) chiefs( plural)
roof                       roofs
hoof                      hoofs

(iv) a vowel + y ( a vowel preceeding -y)
monkey( sing., e preceeds y) monkeys( pl., s added)
key                              keys
day                              days
boy                              boys
(v) –ful: spoonful(sing) spoonfuls(pl.)

Rule 3: Remove –y and add ‘-ies‘ to the rest of the letters if the singular noun ends in a consonant plus -y(a consonant preceeding -y).
E.g. baby( sing.) babies( pl., y removed and ies added)
lady                ladies
city                 cities
fly                   flies
Rule 4: When a singular noun ends in a consonant or vowel plus -f/fe, change the -f/fe ending to –ves.
knife(singular) knives(plural)
self                       selves
half                      halves
thief                    thieves
Rule 5: For nouns ending in –um, change the -um ending to –a.
E.g Medium(singular) Media( plural)
Stadium                          Stadia
Agendum                      Agenda
Datum                            Data
Rule 6: If a noun ends in –is, change the -is to –es.
Emphasis( Singular) Emphases(plural)
Crisis                   Crises
Testis                   Testes
Analysis              Analyses
basis                     bases
Rule 7: When a singular noun ends in –ex or –ix, remove the -ex/ix and add –ices .
E.g. index( singular) indices( plural)
matrix                   matrices
vertex                    vertices
vortex                   vortices
appendix            appendices
Rule 8: For nouns ending in –us, change the ending to –i.
E.g Focus(singular) Foci( plural)
fungus                 fungi
nucleus               nuclei
octopus             octopi
radius                radii
stimulus          stimuli
cactus               cacti
syllabus           syllabi
Rule 9: There are few nouns that end in –on. Just change the -on ending to –a.
phenomenon(sing) phenomena(pl.)
criterion              criteria
automaton         automata

Rule 10: There are some nouns that change their inside vowels. For example, man(singular) changes its inside vowel ‘a‘ to ‘e’ to form men(plural).
E.g woman( singular) women( plural)
tooth                     teeth
foot                       feet
goose                   geese
mouse                 mice
louse                    lice

Rule 11: Some nouns retain the same form for both singualr and plural.
E. g sheep(singular) sheep(plural)
cattle                    cattle
offspring          offspring
fish                      fish
swine                  swine
dear                      dear

Rule 12: There are few singular nouns that take additional letters in forming their plurals.
E.g. ox( singular) oxen(plural)
child             children

Rule 11: Some nouns have no plural forms and are always singular. All uncountable nouns fall into this category. Water, sand, tea, sugar, air, money, knowledge, love, hatred etc

Rule 12: When changing a singular (hyphenated) compound noun to plural, pluralize only the main word( mostly a noun), not the modifiers. An example of such words is mother-in-law.

E.g. Brother -in-law       Brothers-in-law

   Secretary-general. secretaries-general

 Commander-in-chief.  Commanders-in-chief.      

Attorney general.           Attorneys general        


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