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Changing Nouns from Singular to Plural

 

The majority of singular nouns are made plural simply by adding an S on to the end of the word. However, there are many different rules depending on what letter the word ends in.

Grammar Corner Changing Nouns from Singular to Plural

 

A plural noun is a word that is used to indicate that there is more than one person, animal, place, thing, or idea etc. The majority of singular nouns are made plural simply by adding an S on to the end of the word. However, there are many different rules depending on what letter the word ends in. There are also many irregular nouns that don’t follow the rules and these need to be learned and memorized. The rules every EFL teacher needs to know so they can teach their students effectively are:

1 To make regular nouns plural, add ‑s to the end.

  • cat – cats
  • house – houses
  • girl– girls
  • computer– computers

2 If the singular noun ends in ‑s, -ss, -sh, -ch, -x, or -z, add ‑es to the end to make it plural.

  • bus – buses
  • wish– wishes
  • lunch – lunches
  • tax – taxes

3 In some cases, singular nouns ending in -s or -z, require that you double the -s or -z prior to adding the -es for pluralization.

  • fez – fezzes
  • gas –gasses
  • quiz– quizzes

4 If the noun ends with ‑f or ‑fe, the f is often changed to ‑ve before adding the -s to form the plural version.

  • wife – wives
  • wolf – wolves
  • shelf– shelves

Exceptions:

roof – roofs

belief – beliefs

chef – chefs

chief – chiefs

5 If a singular noun ends in ‑y and the letter before the -y is a consonant, change the ending to ‑ies to make the noun plural.

  • city – cities
  • puppy – puppies
  • activity – activities

6 If the singular noun ends in -y and the letter before the -y is a vowel, simply add an -s to make it plural.

  • ray – rays
  • boy – boys
  • essay – essays

7 If the singular noun ends in ‑o, add ‑es to make it plural.

  • potato – potatoes
  • tomato – tomatoes

Exceptions:

photo – photos

piano – pianos

halo – halos

8 If the singular noun ends in ‑us, the plural ending is frequently ‑i.

  • cactus – cacti
  • focus – foci

9 If the singular noun ends in ‑is, the plural ending is ‑es.

  • analysis – analyses
  • ellipsis – ellipses

10 If the singular noun ends in ‑on, the plural ending is ‑a.

  • phenomenon – phenomena
  • criterion – criteria

11 Some nouns don’t change at all when they’re pluralized.

  • sheep – sheep
  • series – series
  • species – species
  • deer –deer

12 Irregular Nouns

Irregular nouns follow no specific rules.

  • child – children
  • goose – geese
  • man – men
  • woman – women
  • tooth – teeth
  • foot – feet
  • mouse – mice
  • person – people

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