The plural of nouns

Regular nouns

Most nouns form the plural by adding -s.

Examples
Singular Plural
boat boats
house houses
cat cats
river rivers

A noun ending in s, x, z, ch, sh makes the plural by adding-es.

Examples
Singular Plural
bus buses
wish wishes
pitch pitches
box boxes

A noun ending in a consonant and then y makes the plural by dropping the y and adding-ies.

Examples
Singular Plural
penny pennies
spy spies
baby babies
city cities
daisy daisies

Irregular nouns

There are some irregular formations for noun plurals. Some of the most common ones are listed below.

Examples
Singular Plural
woman women
man men
child children
tooth teeth
foot feet
person people
leaf leaves
mouse mice
goose geese
half halves
knife knives
wife wives
life lives
elf elves
loaf loaves
potato potatoes
tomato tomatoes
cactus cacti
focus foci
fungus fungi
nucleus nuclei
syllabus syllabi/syllabuses
analysis analyses
diagnosis diagnoses
oasis oases
thesis theses
crisis crises
phenomenon phenomena
criterion criteria
datum data

Some nouns have the same form in the singular and the plural.

Examples
Singular Plural
sheep sheep
fish fish
deer deer
species species
aircraft aircraft

Irregular verb/noun agreement

Some nouns have a plural form but take a singular verb.

Plural nouns used with a singular verb Sentence
news The news is at 6.30 p.m.
athletics Athletics is good for young people.
linguistics Linguistics is the study of language.
darts Darts is a popular game in England.
billiards Billiards is played all over the world.

Some nouns have a fixed plural form and take a plural verb. They are not used in the singular, or they have a different meaning in the singular. Nouns like this include: trousers, jeans, glasses, savings, thanks, steps, stairs, customs, congratulations, tropics, wages, spectacles, outskirts, goods, wits

Plural noun with plural verb Sentence
trousers My trousers are too tight.
jeans Her jeans are black.
glasses Those glasses are his.

 

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