The plural forms of most English nouns are made by adding –s to the singular form. “Forms” and “nouns” from the previous sentence are perfect examples. However, many commonly-used English nouns have irregular plural forms. Some of these nouns follow alternate pluralization rules. Other nouns are identical in both singular and plural forms. Still other nouns have completely unique singular and plural forms.
–F/–FE to –VES
Nouns ending in –f or –fe preceded by consonant or a single vowel change to –ves in the plural:
If a noun ending in –f /–fe is preceded by two consecutive vowels, just add –s:
–O to –OES
Some nouns ending in –o change to –oes in their plural forms while other simply take –s. Here are several commonly-used examples of each.
|–O to –OES|
|–O to –OS|
Some –o words can take either –o or –oes in the plural:
|–O to –OS or –OES
Note: Nouns with a vowel before the final –o always take –s in the plural.
Nouns Ending in –CH, –S, –SH, –X, or –Z
When a noun ends in –ch, –s, –sh, –c, or –z, add –es to form the plural:
Note: Nouns where the –ch is pronounced as a “K” are an exception to this rule. To form the plural of these nouns, just add –s. For example, the plural of “stomach” is “stomachs.”
–Y to –IES
Nouns ending in a consonant plus –y drop the –y and add –ies in the plural form:
Changing Vowel Sounds
Several English nouns change vowel sounds in their plural forms. Commonly-used vowel changing nouns include:
Identical Singular and Plural
Finally, some nouns (especially the names of animals) do not change from the singular to the plural:
That’s all for this lesson. Next time we’ll look at words with foreign origins that have retained their plural forms from their original languages.