Learn English » Singular and Plural Nouns
Common nouns can be singular or plural. When a noun refers to just one thing, it is called singular. If it refers to more than one thing, it is said to be plural.
There are some rules to remember when you form plurals.
- Many nouns form their plural by adding –s. For example, the plural of ball is balls.
- If a noun ends in ch, sh, s or x, add –es to form the plural. For example, church becomes churches, dish becomes dishes, and box becomes boxes. However, there are exceptions to this rule. The plural of ox is oxen.
- Nouns ending in –y and has a vowel before the -y, form their plural by simply adding –s. For example, key becomes keys.
- Nouns ending in –y and has a consonant before the –y, form their plurals changing the –y to i and adding –es. For example, lily becomes lilies.
- Some nouns that end in –f form their plurals by changing the f to v and adding –es. For example, knife becomes knives, and leaf becomes leaves.
There are exceptions to this rule. For example, roof becomes roofs, and chief becomes chiefs.
- Nouns that end in –o form their plural by either adding –s or adding –es. The plural of piano is pianos, but the plural of cargo is cargoes.
- The plural of some compound words are formed by adding –s to the first word. For example, the plural of mother-in-law is mothers-in-law.
- Some words do not change in their plural form. For example, the plural of deer is deer itself. Also, the plural of sheep is sheep.
- There are some nouns that end in –s and so look as though they are plural. However, they are really singular. For example, branches of knowledge like mathematics, physics, ethics, politics, or social studies are singular. Some diseases also, though ending is –s, are treated as singular. For example, measles, mumps, and rickets.
- There are a few nouns that are singular in nature but are made of paired items, and are treated as plural. Examples are pants, scissors, trousers, glasses, tweezers, tongs, and pliers. Many of these words are used with the expression a pair of. For example, a pair of pants, and a pair of scissors.
- If a noun expresses an amount or measurement, it is normally singular. However, if the unit of measurement refers to more than one individual item, then it is treated as plural.
Three spoons of sugar is too much. (singular)
Ten dollars is not a small amount of money. (singular)
Three-fourths of the people in this country are obese. (plural)
There are a few nouns that are plurals and are mostly derived from Latin. Examples are phenomena, memoranda, criteria and media. Their singular forms are phenomenon, memorandum, criterion, and medium.
Now let us get some practice in forming plurals. Click on your desired level as given below, and answer the worksheets. Answers are also given along with each worksheet.
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