Skip to content

Singular and Plural Nouns in English (Grammatical Number): Regular & Irregular Plurals

    In the vast realm of language, one fundamental aspect that lays the groundwork for effective communication is understanding the formation of singular and plural nouns. So, buckle up as we embark on a journey to unravel the intricacies of forming singular and plural nouns, paving the way for a deeper comprehension of linguistic structures and conventions.

    Forming singular and plural in English (-s, -es, -ies, -i and -a endings)

    What are singular and plural nouns?

    A singular noun refers to one individual person, place, thing, or idea, while a plural noun refers to two or more of the specified nouns. Let’s look at the rules for 

    Rules for singular and plural nouns

    The typical guideline dictates that to convert most singular nouns to their plural nouns, you simply add -s, -es, or -ies to the word’s ending. Nonetheless, there exist several irregular nouns that undergo spelling modifications when changing from singular to plural. Let’s look at some of these rules.

    Singular Noun EndingsRuleSingular ExamplePlural Example
    Most nounsAdd an -spenpens
    ‑s, -ss, -sh, -ch, -x, or -zAdd an -esboxboxes
    -s or -zIt may need an additional -s or -z and an -esGas / quizGasses/ Quizzes
    -f or -feChange to the fe or f to -ve and add an -sknifeknives 
    Consonant and -yChange -y to -iescitycities
    Vowel and -yAdd an -sbaybays
    -oAdd an -espotatopotatoes
    -usReplace with an -ifungusfungi
    -isReplace with an -eshypothesishypotheses
    -onReplace with an -acriterioncriteria

    Note! certain nouns remain the same in both singular and plural forms. Here are some examples of nouns that do not undergo any change when pluralized.

    • Series
    • Species
    • Deer
    • Sheep
    • Scissors
    • Oxygen
    • Police
    • Knowledge
    • Sugar
    • Pants
    • Jeans
    • Concrete

    Note that, some nouns change their vowel sound when transitioning from singular to plural. Unfortunately, there isn’t a consistent rule to identify these irregular plurals so, they usually need to be memorized individually. For example:

    SingularPlural
    ManMen
    WomanWomen
    ToothTeeth
    FootFeet
    ChildChildren
    MouseMice
    LouseLice
    GooseGeese

    Here is a compilation of some singular and plural nouns.

    SingularPluralSingularPlural
    areaareasGooseGeese
    businessbusinessespartyparties
    leafleavespersonpeople
    changechangesserviceservices
    OxOxensidesides
    IndexIndicesstatestates
    Book Your English Lessons Online

    Great! Now let’s look at a conversation between Alex and Taylor to practice singular and plural nouns.

    Alex: Hey Taylor, I was at the zoo yesterday. I saw a lot of elephant.

    Taylor: Close! It’s “elephants” when there’s more than one. You saw a lot of elephants.

    Alex: Oh, got it! And there was this big giraffe.

    Taylor: Perfect! Yes, you got it right. One giraffe, many giraffes.

    Alex: Cool! But wait, what about that cute little panda.

    Taylor: Cool! You’re catching on fast. One panda, many pandas.

    Alex: Thanks, Taylor! This singular and plural thing is quite tricky, but you make it sound easy.

    Taylor: No problem, Alex! Learning is an adventure. Keep practicing, and you’ll master it in no time!

    Great! Now, let’s look at some exercises. 

    Let’s practice!

    Identify the Plural Form of the following nouns:

    Tree: ___________

    City: ___________

    Mouse: ___________

    Book: ___________

    Friend: ___________

    Radius: ___________

    Medium: ___________

    Thesis: _________

    Please do not forget to leave your answers in the comment section below. If you want to continue studying, don’t miss the article on definite and indefinite articles in English.

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *