English Grammar Simple Pluralisation Guide

Plural Noun Forms

Regular Plurals

The plural form of most nouns is created simply by adding the letter 's' to the end of the word .

For example:-

  • minute - minutes

Nouns that end in -ch, -x, -s, -sh, z or s-like sounds, the plural is formed by adding 'es' to the end of the word.

For example:-

  • church - churches | box - boxes | gas - gases | bush - bushes | ass - asses

Nouns that end in a single -z, the plural is formed by adding 'zes' to the end of the word.

For example:-

  • quiz - quizzes

Most nouns ending in -o preceded by a consonant also form their plurals by adding 'es' .

For example:-

  • potato - potatoes | tomato - tomatoes | volcano - volcanoes

However many newly created words and words with a Spanish or Italian origin that end in -o just add an 's'.

For example:-

  • photo - photos | piano - pianos | portico - porticos

Nouns ending in a consonant + y, drop the y and add 'ies'.

For example:-

  • party - parties | lady - ladies

Most nouns ending in -f or -fe, drop the f and add 'ves'.

For example:-

  • calf - calves | half - halves | wolf - wolves

Most words ending in -is, drop the -is and add -es.

For example:-

  • crisis - crises | hypothesis - hypotheses | oasis - oases

Irregular Plurals

There are many common nouns that have irregular plurals.

For example:-

  • child - children | person - people | foot - feet | mouse - mice | tooth - teeth

Some nouns have identical plural and singular forms, although they are still considered to have a plural form.

For example:-

  • aircraft - aircraft | fish - fish | headquarters - headquarters | sheep - sheep | species - species

Uncountable nouns on the other hand have no plural form and take a singular verb (is / was ...).

For example:-

  • advice | information | luggage | news

Some nouns (especially those associated with two things) exist only in the plural form and take a plural verb (are / were...).

For example:-

  • cattle | scissors | trousers | tweezers | congratulations | pyjamas

Nouns that stem from older forms of English or are of foreign origin often have odd plurals.

For example:-

  • ox - oxen | index - indices or indexes

In compound nouns the plural ending is usually added to the main noun.

For example:-

  • court martial - courts martial | son-in-law - sons-in-law | passer-by - passers-by