How to Spell Noun Plurals

Plural Forms
Plural Forms. Kenneth Beare

Nouns refer to a part of speech which is an object, person, concept, or place. Nouns which can be counted are called count nouns (or countable nouns) and take a plural form. Nouns which can not be counted are called non-count (or uncountable nouns) and do not take a plural form. 

How to spell the plural of most common nouns

The plural of most nouns is formed by adding -s to the end of the noun.

dog - dogs
light - lights
book - books
airplane - airplanes
car - cars
chip - chips

If the noun ends in -s, -z, -x, -ch or -sh, then the plural is formed by adding -es to the noun.

watch - watches
glass - glasses
church - churches
flush - flushes
tax - taxes
waltz - waltzes 

How to spell the plural of nouns ending in -y

Nouns ending in -y are a little more difficult to change. When -y is preceded by a consonant, form the plural by changing the -y into -ies.

city - cities
cranberry - cranberries
ferry - ferries
baby - babies
crazy - crazies
puppy - puppies

When the -y is preceded by a vowel, the -y is not changed in the plural form -ys.

holiday - holidays
monkey - monkeys
boy - boys
guy - guys
key - keys
toy - toys

How to spell the plural of a noun ending in -o

Some nouns that end in -o add -s to form the plural. For example piano, plural pianos. Some add -es to form the plural.

potato - potatoes
tomato - tomatoes
hero - heroes
volcano - volcanoes

Other nouns ending in -o add either -s or -es (both are correct).

volcano - volcanos or volcanoes

How to spell the plural of a noun ending in -f

Most nouns that end in 'f' or 'fe' changes to -ves to form the plural.

knife - knives
life - lives
calf - calves
shelf - shelves
wife - wives

Nouns that end in 'ff' do not change to -ves, but just add -s to the end of the noun.

buff - buffs
cliff - cliffs
cuff - cuffs
payoff - payoffs
mastiff - mastiffs
liftoff - liftoffs

Irregular Plurals in English

There are a number of noun plurals that are irregular in English. In the case of irregular nouns, just like irregular verbs, you will need to learn the spelling of each word individually. Here are some of the most common irregular plurals in English. 

man - men
woman - women
child - children
person - people
tooth - teeth
foot - feet

Animal Plurals

The plurals of animals often do not change to a plural form. In other words, the singular form of an animal is the same for the plural. However, this is not always the case. Here are some of the most common non-changing animal plurals. 

deer - deer
fish - fish
sheep - sheep
zebra - zebra

Here are some of the most common changing animal plurals. Note that when animal plurals do change, they follow the spelling rules listed on this page.

lion - lions
monkey - monkeys
wolf - wolves
owl - owls
goat - goats
horse - horses

 

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