English Grammar

Plural of nouns and formation with Illustration


A noun is a part of speech that denotes an object (a chair), a person (a child – a child), an animal (a cat – a cat), a substance (milk – milk), a phenomenon (rain – rain) or an abstract concept (happiness – happiness). Plural of nouns and formation

If the number of objects can be counted, then such a noun is countable. Hence, it will take the form of single (singular) and multiple (plural) numbers. If a noun cannot be counted, it is uncountable and has only one form.

It is important to remember that the plural or singular form of a noun is also important for the alignment of the subject (who? / What?) With the predicate (what does?). For countable nouns, we use the singular or plural form of the verb. And with uncountable nouns, we use the verb only in the singular.

Kids are curious. – Children are curious.
My kid is curious. – My child is curious.
The milk is too hot for me. – The milk is too hot for me.

Basic rules for the formation of the plural in English

There are several ways to form the plurality of countable nouns in English:

  1. The most common rule is to add the ending -s to the singular noun:an apple – apples
    a pen – pens
    a problem – problemsWe pronounce the ending -s as / z / after voiced consonants or vowels. For example: dogs / dɒɡz / (dogs), hands / hændz / (hands), keys / kiːz / (keys).

    If the word ends in a voiceless consonant, then the ending -s is pronounced as / s /. For example: lamps / læmps / (lamps), myths / mɪθs / (myths), skirts / skɜːts / (skirts).

  2. If a word ends in -s, -ss, -sh, -ch, or -x, add the ending -es to form the plural.a bus – buses
    a dress – dresses
    a brush – brushes
    a watch – watches
    a box – boxesIn this case, we pronounce the ending -es as / iz /. For example: glasses / ɡlɑːsiz / (glasses), boxes / bɒksiz / (boxes).
  3. If the word ends in -o, the ending can be -es or -s. To choose the right one, it is better to consult a dictionary. Plural of nouns and formationEnding -es:a tomato – tomatoes
    a hero – heroes.

    The ending -s:

    a kilo – kilos
    a photo – photos

  4. If a word ends in -y preceded by a consonant, the plural ending is -ies.a cherry – cherries
    a lady – ladies
    a puppy – puppiesBut if there is a vowel before the -y, then nothing needs to be changed – just add the ending -s.

    a boy – boys
    a day – days
    a monkey – monkeys

  5. There are a number of nouns that change the -f / -fe ending to -ves in the plural. These exceptions include the following words:a calf – calves
    an elf – elves
    a shelf – shelves
    a half – halves
    a knife – knives
    a thief – thieves (thief – thieves)
    a leaf – leaves (leaf – leaves)
    a life – lives (life – lives)
    a loaf – loaves (loaf – loaves)
    a wife – wives (wife – wives)
    a wolf – wolves (wolf – wolves ).And words such as a dwarf (dwarf, gnome), a hoof (hoof), a scarf (scarf), a wharf (wharf) in the plural can have both the ending -fs and -ves.
  6. There are a number of nouns whose plural forms you just need to remember.a person – people
    a man – men
    a woman – women
    a child – children
    a foot – feet
    a tooth – teeth ( tooth – teeth)
    a goose – geese
    a mouse – mice
    a louse – lice
    an ox – oxen
  7. And one more group – nouns, the forms of which in the singular and plural are the same. Here is some of them:

    a sheep – sheep
    a swine – swine
    an aircraft – aircraft
    a means – means
    a crossroads – crossroads
    a series – series (series – series)

    Special cases of plural formation in English

    1. Pay attention to nouns in which the -s ending does not indicate the plural, as these are uncountable nouns. Plural of nouns and formationgymnastics – gymnastics
      billiards – billiards
      measles – measles
      maths – mathematics

      Measles is an infectious disease. – Measles is an infectious disease.
      Gymnastics is my favorite sport. – Gymnastics is my favorite sport.

    2. Nouns that are used only in the plural. Accordingly, these words are used with the plural verb.police – police
      cattle – cattle
      clothes – clothes
      stairs – stairs

      The police are looking for the robbers. – The police are looking for the robbers.

    3. Uncountable nouns in EnglishWhat if we still need to indicate the plurality of something uncountable? In this case, before the noun itself, you must put words indicating its number:
      • Capacity, container:two cartons of juice – two packs of juice
        three bottles of wine – three bottles of wine
        four cups of tea – four cups of tea
        five glasses of water – five glasses of water
        six jars of jam – six cans of jam
        seven boxes of cereal – seven boxes of cereal
        eight cans of coke – eight cans of cola
        nine tins of tuna – nine cans of tuna
        ten tubes of toothpaste – ten tubes of toothpaste
      • Unit of measurement:two kilos of sugar – two kilograms of sugar
        three liters of petrol – three liters of gasoline
        four pounds of butter – four pounds of oil
        five meters of cable – five meters of cable
      • Unit (products, goods):three loaves of bread – three slices of bread
        four bars of chocolate – four chocolate bars
        five slices of cheese – five slices of cheese Plural of nouns and formation

      If you cannot find a unit of measurement for an uncountable noun, use the piece of construction.

      He gave me three pieces of advice. – He gave me three pieces of advice.

    4. Also, nouns that are used only in the plural include objects consisting of two parts – paired. Most often these are tools, clothing, and accessories.jeans – jeans
      trousers –
      pajamas (BrE), pajamas (AmE) – pajamas
      tights – tights
      – pincers pliers – shears pliers
      – secateurs

      Use pairs of to form the plural of paired nouns.

      She wants to try on a few more pairs of sunglasses before the purchase. “She wants to try on a few more pairs of sunglasses before shopping.
      You should have at least two pairs of binoculars for birdwatching. “You must have at least two pairs of birdwatching binoculars.

    5. Collective nounsCollective nouns denote a group of people or objects that are considered as a whole. With such nouns, we can use the verb in both the singular and the plural.staff –
      a team –
      a crew –
      a family –
      a company – a company

      Most often it doesn’t matter which number you choose, but sometimes one of the forms is more appropriate in the context. It all depends on whether you are talking about the group as something whole (singular) or considering separately each member of the group (plural).

      The team was playing well. – The team played well.
      The team were playing well. – Everyone on the team played well.

      My family is very important to me. – My family is very important to me.
      My family are going away next weekend. – All my family members are leaving next weekend.

      Plural of nouns and formation

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