English Plurals and Spellings

English Plurals and Spellings

English Plurals and Spellings

English Plurals and Spellings

Languages differ from each other in many aspects, but the thing which is similar in almost every language is Grammar. Grammar is a set of rules and studies of structure to show how the language can be used. 

Spellings are an integral part of grammar, to write a word. You are lucky enough that English spellings have some patterns, which can be used to spell words quite easily.

The foundation of English grammar is a Noun. It is a word other than a pronoun. A noun is the name of a person, thing, or place. When you talk about one noun, it is known as singular. When you refer to more than one noun, it is known as a plural.

In short, the default quantity denoted by a noun, which is one, is known as singular, and the noun which denotes the quantity more than one are known as plurals of nouns.

Plural Nouns: Rules and Examples

There are two types of nouns: Regular nouns and irregular nouns. There are several numbers of rules when it comes to the pluralization of nouns. It depends on what letter the noun ends on. However, these rules of pluralization are only followed by regular nouns. Irregular nouns do not follow any set of rules for pluralization. They need to be memorized.

In our daily life, we use plural nouns frequently. When writing, it is of utmost importance to know the correct spelling of plurals, which usually depends on the last letter of the word. There are some rules to follow or to understand the different spellings of plurals. 

Some of the rules for pluralization of regular verbs are mentioned below with examples:

Rule-1: To make a regular noun plural, add -s.

To change one regular noun to plural, you need to add -s at the end of the noun. 

Example:

Singular  

Plural  

Bat

Bats  

Jogger  

Joggers  

Table  

Tables  

ball

Balls  

house

Houses  

cup

Cups  

color

Colors  

Girl  

Girls  

Week  

Weeks  

Pigeon  

Pigeons  

Practice: Find the plurals of given regular nouns.

  • Chair
  • Spoon 
  • Walker 
  • Pencil
  • Bed

Rule-2: Nouns ending in y. 

 When it comes to pluralize a noun ending in y, there are two rules to keep in mind. 

  1. If the noun ends with a consonant and a y, change –y to –ies to pluralize it.

Example:

Singular  

Plural  

Activity

Activities  

Berry  

Berries

Enemy 

Enemies  

Fly

Flies  

Library  

Libraries  

Canary  

canaries

Daisy  

Daisies  

Lady  

Ladies  

Lorry  

Lorries  

Pony

ponies

Practice: Find the plurals of given nouns.

  • Pony 
  • Theory 
  • Spy 
  • Rely 
  • Bunny 
  1. If the noun ends with a vowel and a y, change –y to –s to pluralize it.

Example:

Singular  

Plural  

Toy  

Toys  

Boy  

Boys  

Turkey (bird)

Turkeys

Monkey  

Monkeys

Birthday  

Birthdays  

Tray  

Trays  

Day  

Days 

Ray  

Rays 

Blue jay 

Blue jays 

Ploy  

Ploys 

 

Practice: Find the plurals of given nouns.

  • Chimney 
  • Jersey 
  • Guy 
  •  Trolley 
  • Decoy 

 

Rule-3: Nouns ending in -ch, -s,-ss, -sh, -x, -z, add es.

To change one noun ending with –ch,-s,-sh,-x, or -z to plural, you need to add es at the end of the noun.

Example:

Singular  

Plural  

Box  

boxes

bus

buses

Fox

foxes

glass

glasses

Match  

Matches  

Lunch  

lunches  

Tax  

Taxes  

Dish  

Dishes  

Bench  

benches

Brush  

Brushes  

 

Practice: Find the plurals of given regular nouns.

  • Buzz
  • Church 
  • Class 
  • Marsh 
  • Blitz 

Exception 1:if the -ch at the end of a noun is pronounced with ‘k’, then you have to add –s in the end. 

Example:  stomach = stomachs.

Exception 2: Sometimes, singular nouns ending with –s or -z requires you to double the –z or –s before adding –es for a plural noun.

Example: gas= gasses, fez= fezzes.

 

Rule-4: Nouns ending in -f or –fe.

Several nouns end with –f or –fe, however, there are two rules for pluralization of such nouns.

  1. If the noun ends with a consonant before –f or -fe, change –f or -fe to -ves to pluralize it.

Example:

Singular  

Plural  

Knife  

Knives  

Half  

Halves  

Scarf  

Scarves  

Thief  

Thieves  

Life  

Lives  

 

Practice: Find the plurals of given regular nouns.

  • wolf
  • Calf 
  • leaf 
  • wife 
  • shelf 

 

  1. If the noun ends with a vowel and –f or -fe, change –f or -fe to –s to pluralize it.

Example: 

Singular  

Plural  

Chief  

chiefs

Spoof  

Spoofs

Chef

Chefs  

Cliff  

Cliffs  

Reef  

Reefs  

 

Practice: Find the plurals of given regular nouns.

  • Handcuff 
  • Giraffe 
  • Bluff 
  • Roof 
  • Gulf

Rule-5: Nouns ending in –o.

Nouns ending in – o can either be replaced by –es or –s in the plural form or either way depending on the letter before o. 

  1. If the nouns end with a vowel and –o, you need to add -s in the plural form. 

Example:

Singular  

Plural  

Radio  

Radios  

Stereo 

stereos  

Video  

videos 

Life  

Lives  

Practice: 

  • Torpedo
  • Veto 
  • kangaroo 
  • zoo 
  • Tattoo 
  • Studio 
  • Portfolio 

 

  1. If a noun ends with a consonant and –o, add –es.

Example:

Singular  

Plural  

Buffalo  

Buffaloes  

Echo  

Echoes  

Hero  

heroes

Tomato  

Tomatoes

Potato  

Potatoes  

Practice : find the plurals of given regular nouns.

  • Mosquito 
  • Domino 
  • Embargo 
  • Veto 
  • Torpedo 
  1. Some common nouns that can be spelled either way.
  • Halo 
  • Moto 
  • Cargo
  • Flamingo 
  • Fresco 
  • Volcano 

Irregular nouns

Irregular nouns that do not change.

Some nouns are the same in the singular and their plural forms. They do not change at all. However, to identify them as singular or plural, you need to check the sentence in which they are used. 

Example: 

  • Sheep
  • Fish
  • Series
  • Species
  • Cattle
  • Aircraft

Irregular nouns that change their vowels.

There are some nouns that only change their vowels in pluralization.

Example:

Singular  

Plural  

Man  

Men  

Woman  

Women  

Tooth  

Teeth  

Foot  

Feet

Child  

children

Mouse

mice

Plural of foreign nouns 

The English language has some words driven from foreign languages such as Latin or Greek, French, Italian. The plural of such words has two possible spellings, either English plural spellings or the foreign plural spellings.

Example:

Singular  

English Plural 

Foreign plural 

Formula  

Formulas  

Formulae  

Index  

Indexes  

Indices  

Cactus  

Cactuses

Cacti  

Bureau  

Bureaus  

Bureau  

Pizza  

Pizzas  

Pizza  

Espresso  

Espressos

Espresso  

BOTTOM LINE:

In this lesson, we learned nouns, types of nouns which are regular and irregular, and rules to pluralize regular nouns. 

There are no rules for pluralization of irregular nouns because most of them are derived from foreign languages. It is best to memorize such nouns or use a dictionary for them.

Jul 04,2020 | By Javaid Ahmed Solangi | Inenglish-language-teaching