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Plurals of Nouns


Plurals of Nouns

Plurals of Nouns

Remembering the following rules will help you spell the plural forms of nouns.

(1) For most nouns, add s.

  • brick 
  • eye 
  • lizard 
  • Smith 
  • word
  • brick
  • eye
  • lizard
  • Smith
  • words
(2) For nouns ending in s, x, z, ch, or sh, add es.

  • boss 
  • mix 
  • Gomez 
  • church 
  • wish 
  • bosses 
  • mixes 
  • Gomezes 
  • churches 
  • wishes


Plurals of Nouns Tip

If the plural form of a word has one more syllable than the singular form, then the plural word is probably spelled with es.

The singular word pinch has one syllable. The plural word pinches has two syllables: pinch•es. The plural word pinches is formed by adding es to the singular word pinch.

(3) For nouns ending in y preceded by a vowel, add s.

  • boy 
  • journey
  • tray 
  • boy
  • journeys 
  • trays

(4) For nouns ending in y preceded by a consonant, change the y to i and add es.

  • mutiny 
  • penny 
  • sky 
  • mutinies 
  • pennies 
  • skies

(5) For some nouns ending in f or fe, add s. For others, change the f or fe to v and add es.

  • roo
  • safe 
  • leaf 
  • wife 
  • whar
  • roofs 
  • safe
  • leaves 
  • wives 
  • wharfs or wharves

(6) For nouns ending in o preceded by a vowel, add s.

  • igloo 
  • patio 
  • radio 
  • stereo 
  • igloos 
  • patios 
  • radios 
  • stereos

(7) For many nouns ending in o preceded by a consonant, add es.

  • hero 
  • potato 
  • tomato 
  • veto 
  • heroes 
  • potatoes 
  • tomatoes 
  • vetoes 
  • pianos 
  • solos 
  • egos 
  • photos


Plurals of Nouns Note

Most words that refer to music and end in o form the plural by adding s. If you are unsure of how a word forms the plural, look the word up in a dictionary.

(8) The plurals of a few nouns are formed irregularly.

  • child 
  • louse 
  • tooth 
  • woman 
  • children 
  • lice 
  • teeth 
  • women

(9) For a few nouns, the singular and the plural forms are the same.

  • aircraft 
  • deer 
  • pliers 
  • sheep 
  • aircraft 
  • deer 
  • pliers 
  • sheep

(10) For most compound nouns, form the plural of only the last word of the compound.

  • doorbell 
  • picture window 
  • five-year-old 
  • doorbells 
  • picture windows 
  • five-year-olds

(11) For compound nouns in which one of the words is modified by the other word or words, form the plural of the noun modified.

  • brother-in-law 
  • editor in chief 
  • bird-watcher 
  • brothers-in-law 
  • editors in chief 
  • bird-watchers

(12) For some nouns borrowed from other languages, the plural is formed as in the original language.

A few nouns borrowed from other languages have two acceptable plural forms.

  • alumnus 
  • criterion 
  • alumni 
  • criteria or criterions

(13) To form the plurals of numerals, most uppercase letters, symbols, and most words referred to as words, add an s or both an apostrophe and an s.

  • 20 
  • C 
  • if 
  • 20s or 20’s 
  • Cs or C’s 
  • $s or $’s 
  • ifs or if’s

Summary of the Most Important Types of Plurals of Nouns

1. Regular plurals: Most plural nouns can be formed by simply adding 's' to the singular form. 

Here are some examples:
- Car - Cars
- Book - Books
- Flower - Flowers
- House - Houses
- Chair - Chairs

2. Plurals ending in 's', 'x', 'z', 'ch', and 'sh': For nouns ending in these sounds, we add 'es' at the end to form the plural. 

For example:
- Box - Boxes
- Glass - Glasses
- Church - Churches
- Brush - Brushes
- Buzz - Buzzes

3. Irregular plurals: There are some nouns that do not follow the regular rules for forming plurals and have a different spelling in their plural form. 

Here are some examples:
- Child - Children
- Man - Men
- Woman - Women
- Foot - Feet
- Mouse - Mice

4. Plurals with the same form as the singular: Some nouns have the same form in singular and plural. 

Here are some examples:
- Sheep - Sheep
- Deer - Deer
- Fish - Fish
- Series - Series
- Species - Species

5. Plurals ending in 'y': For nouns that end in 'y', we usually change the 'y' to 'ies' to form the plural. 

For example:
- Party - Parties
- Baby - Babies
- City - Cities
- Butterfly - Butterflies
- Candy - Candies

Plurals of Nouns Quiz

1. Which of the following is the plural of "dwarf"?
    * dwarves
    * dwarfs
    * dwarfes
2. Which of the following is the plural of "life"?
    * lives
    * lifes
    * livves
3. Which of the following is the plural of "fairy"?
    * fairies
    * fairieses
    * fairiess
4. Which of the following is the plural of "spaghetti"?
    * spaghetti
    * spaghettis
    * spaghetties
5. Which of the following is the plural of "photo"?
    * photos
    * photoes
    * photoess
6. Which of the following is the plural of "zero"?
    * zeros
    * zeroes
    * zerooes
7. Which of the following nouns does not form its plural by adding -s or -es?
    * child
    * woman
    * man
    * mouse
8. Which of the following nouns forms its plural by adding -en?
    * man
    * woman
    * child
    * mouse
9. Which of the following nouns forms its plural by adding -ies?
    * foot
    * goose
    * tooth
    * mouse
10. Which of the following nouns forms its plural by changing -y to -ies?
    * city
    * country
    * lady
    * family


  1. dwarves
  2. lives
  3. fairies
  4. spaghetti (Nouns that end in -i followed by a consonant form their plurals by adding -es.)
  5. photos
  6. zeros
  7. child (This noun forms its plural by changing -ch to -ren.)
  8. children
  9. mice (This noun forms its plural by adding -ies.)
  10. ladies (Nouns that end in -y preceded by a consonant form their plurals by changing -y to -ies.)


Q: How are regular noun plurals formed in English?
A: Regular noun plurals are typically formed by adding -s or -es to the end of the noun. For example, "book" becomes "books" and "box" becomes "boxes."

Q: What are some rules for irregular plural nouns?
A: Irregular plurals can change the vowel sound (e.g. mouse/mice) or end in -en or -ren like "oxen" and "children." Some stay the same in plural form like "sheep" and "deer."

Q: When do we use -es for plurals?
A: -Es is added to form the plural if the noun ends in s, sh, ch, x, or z. This includes "buses," "churches," "boxes," and "quizzes."

Q: How are plurals formed for words ending in y?
A: If the noun ends in a consonant then y, change the y to ies like "baby" to "babies." But just add -s if it ends in a vowel then y like "day" to "days."

Q: What are some plurals taken from other languages?
A: Some foreign plurals use their language's rules like "fungi" (Latin), "criteria" (Greek), and "memoranda" (Latin).


  1. Aronoff, Mark. Morphology by Itself: Stems and Inflectional Classes. MIT press, 1994.
  2. Kroch, Anthony. "Reflexes of grammar in patterns of language change." Language Variation and Change 1.3 (1989): 199-244.
  3. Bauer, Laurie. English Word-formation. Cambridge University Press, 1983.
Mr. ‏El-Sayed Ramadan ‎ ‎


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