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How Plurals Are Formed

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(i)The Plural of nouns is generally formed by adding –s to the singular.
(ii)But Nouns ending in –s, -sh,, -ch (soft), or –x form the plural by adding –es to the singular.
(iii)Most Nouns ending in –o also form the plural by adding –es to the singular.
(iv)A few nouns ending in –o merely add –s.
(v)Nouns ending in –y, preceded by a consonant, form their plural by changing –y into –I and adding –es.
(vi)The following nouns ending in –f or –fe form their plural by changing –f or –fe into –v and adding –es.
(vii)The nouns dwarf, hoof, scarf and wharf take either –s or –ves in the plural
(viii)Other words ending in –f or –fe add –s.

2.A few nouns form their plural by changing the inside vowel of singular.

3.There are few nouns that form their plural by adding –en into the singular. The plural of fish is fish or fishes. In current English fish is the usual plural. Fishes is sometimes used to talk about different kinds of fish.

4.Some nouns have singular and plural alike.

5.Some nouns are used only in the plural.
(i)Names of instruments which have two parts forming a kind of pair.
(ii)Names of certain articles of dress.
(iii)Certain other nouns.

6.Some nouns originally singular are now generally used in the plural.

7.The following nouns look plural but are in fact singular.
(i)Name of subjects.
(ii)The word ‘news’.
(iii)Names of some common diseases.
(iv)Names of some games.
(v)‘Means’ is used either as singular or plural. But when it has the meaning of ‘wealth’ it is always plural.

8.Certain Collective Nouns, though singular in form, are always used as plurals.

9.A Compound Noun generally forms its plural by adding –s to the principal word.

10.Many nouns taken from foreign languages keep their original plural form.

11.Some nouns have two forms for the plural, each with a somewhat different meaning.

12.Some nouns have two meanings in the singular but only one in the plural.

13.Some nouns have one meaning in the singular, two in the plural.

14.Some nouns have different meanings in the singular and the plural.

15.Letters, figures and other symbols are made plural by adding an apostrophe and s.

16.Abstract nouns have no plural. They are uncountables. When such words do appear in the plural, they are used as countable. Names of sentences are also uncountables and are not therefore used in the plural. When such words are used in the plural, they become countables with changed meaning.

Sample Usage



(a)boy, boys
(b)pen, pens
(c)girl, girls
(d)book, books

(a)class, classes
(b)brush, brushes
(c)branch, branches
(d)tax, taxes

(a)buffalo, buffaloes
(b)mango, mangoes
(c)hero, heroes
(d)volcano, volcanoes

(a)solo, solos
(b)logo, logos
(c)commando, commandos
(d)photo, photos

(a)baby, babies
(b)lady, ladies
(c)story, stories
(d)city, cities

(a)thief, thieves
(b)life, lives
(c)half, halves
(d)calf, calves
(e)self, selves

(a)dwarf, dwarfs
(b)wharf, wharves
(c)hoof, hooves
(d)scarf, scarves

(a)chief, chiefs
(b)gulf, gulfs
(c)safe, safes
(d)proof, proofs

(a)Ox, oxen
(b)Child, children

3.Swine, sheep, deer, cod, trout, salmon, aircraft, spacecraft, series, species, pair, dozen, score, gross, hundred, thousand (when used after numerals).

(i)Bellows, scissors, tongs, pincers, spectacles.
(ii)Trousers, drawers, breeches, jeans, tights, shorts, pyjamas.
(iii)Annals, thanks, tidings, environs, nuptials, assets, chattels.

5.Alms, riches, eaves. Example, Riches do many things.

(i)Mathematics, physics, electronics
(iii)Measles, mumps, rickets
(iv)Billiards, draughts

7.Poultry, cattle, vermin, people, gentry.

(i)Commander-in-chief, commanders-in-chiefs
(ii)Son-in-law, sons-in-law
(iii)Passer-by, passers-by
(iv)Man-of-war, men-of-war

9.From Latin: formula- formulae, memorandum-memoranda, terminus-termini, index-indices
From Greek: Axis-axes, crisis-crises, basis-bases, parenthesis-parentheses, hypothesis-hypotheses
From Italian: Bandit-banditti (or bandits)
From French: Madame(madam)-Mesdames, monsieur-messieurs
From Hebrew: cherub-cherubim, seraph-seraphim

10.Brother: brothers, sons of same parent
brethren, members of a society or a community
Cloth: cloths, kinds or pieces of cloth.
Clothes, garments.
Penny: pennies, number of coins
Pence, amount in value

11.Light: radiance or a lamp in singular. Lights that is lamps in plural.
People: nation or men and women in singular. Peoples that is nations in plural

12.Colour: hue in singular. Colours that is hue or the flag of a regiment in plural.
Manner: method in singular. Methods that is methods or correct behavior in plural

13.Air: atmosphere in singular. Airs that is affected manners in plural.
Good: benefit, well-being in singular. Goods that is merchandise in plural.

14.There are more e’s and a’s in the page.
Add two 5’s and four 2’s

15.The Miss Smiths (Singular, Miss Smith.)

16.Hope, charity, love kindness.

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