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Plural nouns - and how to spell them Riverside Roses logo
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Grammar glossary: what words do

When you talk about a person or thing, the noun is called singular.
When you talk about persons or things, the noun is called plural.
Most nouns change when they become plural.

Many nouns add -s on the end when they are plural.

  boat boats
  ship ships
  street streets
  light lights
  load loads
  horse horses
  house houses
  fence fences
  dance dances

Nouns which end in -y also have -s on the end when they are plural, as long there is a vowel before the -y.

  boy boys
  buoy buoys
  key keys
  donkey donkeys
  way ways
  Friday Fridays

Other nouns which end in -y have a different spelling rule, if there is a consonant before the -y, change the -y to an -i and add -es

  baby babies
  party parties
  theory theories
  ferry ferries

Nouns which end in -s or -ss -sh -ch or -x add -es in the plural.

  bus buses
  dress dresses
  wish wishes
  church churches
  box boxes

Nouns which end in -z add -zes

  quiz quizzes
  fez fezzes

Some nouns which end in -f just add -s to make a plural.

  roof roofs
  belief beliefs
  scruff scruffs

These nouns end in -f, and they all change the -f to a -v and add -es.

  calf calves
  elf elves
  half halves
  knife knives
  leaf leaves
  life lives
  loaf loaves
  self selves
  sheaf sheaves
  shelf shelves
  thief thieves
  wife wives
  wolf wolves

Some nouns which end in -f can have plurals which end in -s or -ves.

  hoof hooves or hoofs
  scarf scarves or scarfs
  wharf wharves or wharfs

Some plural nouns do not end in -s. They change in a different way.

  child children    
  woman women    
  man men    
  ox oxen    
  person people    
  goose geese    
  mouse mice    
  louse lice    
  ox oxen    
  foot feet    
  tooth teeth    
  penny pence or pennies

Some plural nouns are the same as the singular noun.

  a sheep two sheep
  a deer a herd of deer

Some nouns do not usually have a plural.

  furniture  
  jewellery  
  hardware  
  money  
  sugar  
  flour  
  dust  
  air  
  water  
  timber  

Some nouns do not have a singular. They are always plural.

  fruit  
  trousers  
  clothes  
  scissors  
  cattle  

To make these nouns singular, you put them in a group of words

  a piece of fruit  
  a pair of trousers  
  a trouser leg  
  an item of clothing  
  a pair of scissors  
  a head of cattle (but we usually say a cow or a bull)

 

 
What words do
Adverbs
Adjectives
Conjunctions and joining words
Nouns
Prepositions
Pronouns
Punctuation and commas
Sentences
Verbs
Glossary

Glossary

Grammar Glossary

Grammar glossary: what words do

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