Double Plurals



Double Plurals :



When one thing is spoken of, the Noun takes Singular form.
When two or more things are spoken of, the Noun takes Plural form.

Proper Nouns, Material Nouns and Abstract Nouns generally have no Plural, unless they are used as Common Nouns.

Egypt is a country in Africa. (Egypt is Proper Noun.)
Many Egypts could be contained in India. (Egypt is Common Noun meaning countries as large as Egypt.)

Tea is a pleasant drink. (TEA is Material Noun.)
The best teas are available in this hotel. (TEA is Common Noun meaning kinds of tea.)

Kindness is part of his character. (Kindness is Abstract Noun.)
He did many kindnesses (Kindness is Common Noun meaning kind acts).

But a Proper Noun may be used in the plural and still remain a Proper Noun when several people or places of the same name are referred to collectively.

1. The Smiths
2. The Two Marys

A few, too, are found only in the plural.

1. The Alps
2. The Pennines
3. The Potteries
4. The Highlands

The general rule for forming Plurals of Nouns is by adding s to the Singular such as…

Singular…..Plural
1. Eye…..eyes
2. Hand…..hands
3. House…..houses
4. Rupee…..rupees

But if the Noun ends in S, X, SH or CH, the Plural is formed by adding ES to the Singular such as…

Singular…..Plural

1. Bench…..benches
2. Box…..boxes
3. Brush…..brushes
4. Glass…..glasses


If the Noun ends in Y and the Y is preceded by a consonant, the Plural is formed by changing the Y into IES.

Singular…..Plural

1. Army…..armies
2. Duty…..duties
3. Fly…..flies
4. Lady…..ladies

But if the final Y is preceded by a vowel (as in AY, EY or OY), the Plural is formed by simply adding S to the Singular.

Singular…..Plural

1. Boy…..boys
2. Day…..days
3. Key…..keys
4. Monkey…..monkeys
5. Play…..plays
6. Toy…..toys

Nouns ending in QUY form the Plural in IES, because QU (=KW is regarded as a double consonant.)

1. Soliloquy…..soliloquies

If the Noun ends in O and the O is preceded by a consonant, the Plural is generally formed by adding ES to the Singular.

Singular…..Plural

1. Buffalo…..buffaloes
2. Cargo…..cargoes
3. Echo…..echoes
4. Hero…..heroes
5. Mango…..mangoes
6. Mosquito…..mosquitoes
7. Motto…..mottoes
8. Negro…..Negroes
9. Potato…..potatoes
10. Volcano…..volcanoes

But all the words ending in OO and all the words ending in IO, EO or YO and some other words ending in O, preceded by a consonant, form their Plural in S and NOT IN ES.

Singular…..Plural

1. Bamboo…..bamboos
2. Cameo…..cameos
3. Canto…..cantos
4. Cuckoo…..cuckoos
5. Curio…..curios
6. Embryo…..embryos
7. Memento…..mementos
8. Piano…..pianos
9. Portfolio…..portfolios
10. Proviso…..provisos
11. Quarto…..quartos
12. Solo…..solos

If the Noun ends in F or FE, the Plural is generally formed by changing F or FE into VES.

Singular…..Plural

1. Calf…..calves
2. Elf…..elves
3. Half…..halves
4. Knife…..knives
5. Leaf…..leaves
6. Life…..lives
7. Myself…..ourselves
8. Sheaf…..sheaves
9. Shelf shelves
10. Thief…..thieves
11. Wife…..wives
12. Wolf…..wolves

But there are Nouns ending in F or FE which form the Plural by simply adding S.

Singular…..Plural

1. Belief…..beliefs
2. Chief…..chiefs
3. Cliff…..cliffs
4. Dwarf…..dwarfs
5. Grief…..griefs
6. Gulf…..gulfs
7. Hoof…..hoofs
8. Hoof…..hooves
9. Proof…..proofs
10. Roof…..roofs
11. Safe…..safes
12. Scarf…..scarfs
13. Scarf…..scarves
14. Strife…..strifes
15. Turf…..turfs
16. Wharf…..wharfs
17. Wharf…..wharves

There are eight Nouns which form the Plural by a change of the inside vowel.

Singular…..Plural

1. Foot…..feet
2. Dormouse…..dormice
3. Goose…..geese
4. Louse…..lice
5. Man…..men
6. Mouse…..mice
7. Woman…..women
8. Tooth…..teeth

There are four Nouns which form the Plural by adding EN or NE.

Singular…..Plural

1. Child…..children
2. Cow…..Kine (or cows)
3. Ox…..oxen
4. Brother…..Brethren (or brothers)

Note : KINE is never used in modern English and BRETHREN is used only in a few specialized senses. The ordinary plural is BROTHERS.

A Compound Noun generally forms the Plural by adding S to the principal word.

Singular…..Plural

1. Coat-of-mail…..coats-of-mail
2. Commander-in-chief…..commanders-in-chief
3. Court-martial…..courts-martial
4. Daughter-in-law…..daughters-in-law
5. Father-in-law…..fathers-in-law
6. Foot-man…..foot-men
7. Governor-general…..Governors-general
8. Hanger-on…..hangers-on
9. Knight-errant…..knights-errant
10. Looker-on…..lookers-on
11. Maid-servant….maid-servants 12. Mother-in-law…..mothers-in-law
13. Passer-by…..passers-by
14. Son-in-law…..sons-in-law
15. Step-daughter…..step-daughters
16. Step-son…step-sons


If the principal word is a Verb, the S must be placed at the end of the entire combination.

Singular…..Plural

1. hold-up….hold-ups
2. hold-all….hold-alls
3. look-out….look-outs
4. pick-me-up….pick-me-ups

The word SPOONFUL become SPOONFULS and is written without hyphen.

1. handful…handfuls

There are four Compound Nouns which take a double Plural.

Singular…..Plural

1. Man-servant…..men-servants
2. Woman-servant…..women-servants
3. Knight- Templar…..Knights-Templars
4. Lord-justice…..Lords-justices
5. Woman-student….women-students 6. Woman-teacher….women-teachers


In a phrase like Miss Brown, two different forms are used for the Plural.

We may say either The Miss Browns or The Misses Brown.

RELATED PAGES :



  1. Double Plurals
  2. Foreign Plurals
  3. Singulars and Plurals of Latin Origin
  4. Singulars and Plurals of Greek Origin
  5. Singulars and Plurals of Italian Origin
  6. Singulars and Plurals of French Origin
  7. Singulars and Plurals of Hebrew Origin
  8. Singular but Plural
  9. Singular and Plural with Same Forms
  10. Two Forms of Plural
  11. Plurals with Two Meanings
  12. Plural Nouns


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