Grammar lesson: Plural nouns in English: normally we just add ‘-s’. However, there are some important exceptions. This lesson is divided into 4 main parts.
1) Adding 's'; 2) Adding 'es'; 3) Adding 'ies' and 4) Irregular forms. There is also a useful pdf revision handout to download.
1) Adding ‘-s’:
Most nouns simply require ‘-s’ for the plural.
- dog (dogs)
- computer (computers)
- face (faces)
2) Adding ‘-es’:
If a noun ends with: -ch, -sh, -s, -x, or -z, we normally add ‘-es’ for the plural.
- church (churches)
- bush (bushes)
- bus (buses)
- box (boxes)
Notes on this section...:
i) Certain nouns ending in '-o'
Some nouns ending in ‘-o’ require only ‘-s’ for plural.
- kilo (kilos)
- photo (photos)
- radio (radios)
Other nouns ending in ‘-o’ require only ‘-es’ for plural.
- potato (potatoes)
- tomato (tomatoes)
- hero (heroes)
- volcano (volcanoes)
ii) Nouns ending in ‘-f’
For most nouns ending in ‘-f’ (or ‘-fe’), we replace the ‘-f’ with ‘-ves’.
- life (lives), - knife (knives)
- leaf (leaves), - wife (wives)
- thief (thieves), - loaf (loaves)
iii) Nouns ending in ‘-is’
Most nouns ending in ‘-is’, replace the ‘-is’ with ‘-es’ in the plural.
- analysis (analyses)
- basis (bases)
- crisis (crises)
- diagnosis (diagnoses)
3) Adding ‘-ies’:
If a noun ends with a consonant plus ‘-y’, we normally add -ies for the plural.
- baby (babies)
- lady (ladies)
- party (parties)
- puppy (puppies)
4) Irregular plurals:
Make sure you know the following common irregular plurals:
- child (children),
- person (people),
- man (men),
- woman (women); pronounced ‘wimmin’, not ‘wommen’
Also these parts of the body:
- foot (feet)
- tooth (teeth)
Plus these animals:
- goose (geese)
- mouse (mice)
- ox (oxen)
Some nouns do not change from the singular to the plural.
- aircraft (2 aircraft)
- sheep (2 sheep)
- headquarters (2 headquarters)
Finally, for some latin / greek words in English...
Words ending in ‘us’ in the singular often end in ‘i’ in the plural. E.g. stimulus (stimuli), alumnus (alumni). However, not virus (viruses), bonus (bonuses).
Words ending in ‘on’ in the singular normally end in ‘a’ in the plural. E.g. phenomenon (phenomena), criterion (criteria).
Practice your learning by working through this practice exercise on English Plurals