Nouns and Number



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Nouns and Number :



Nouns can be singular or plural.
The plural of nouns is usually made by adding S or ES to the singular.

Most nouns form their plural by adding S.

1. Girl….girls
2. Car….cars
3. Chair….chairs
4. Dog….dogs
5. Book….books
6. Rope….ropes

Nouns ending in S, SS, SH, CH, form their plural by adding ES.

1. Bus….buses
2. Watch….watches
3. Glass….glasses
4. Bench….benches
5. brush….brushes
6. fox….foxes

Nouns ending in O (mostly short forms like photo for photograph and words of foreign origin) add S.

1. photo….photos
2. memo….memos
3. piano….pianos
4. solo….solos
5. kilo….kilos
6. studio….studios

But the following nouns ending in S add ES.

1. Hero….heroes
2. Echo….echoes
3. Potato….potatoes
4. Cargo….cargoes
5. Tomato….tomatoes
6. Negro….Negroes

The following nouns take either S or ES in the plural.

1. Buffalo….buffaloes / buffalos
2. Mosquito….mosquitoes / mosquitos
3. Volcano….volcanoes / volcanos

Nouns ending in a consonant + y change the y into IES.

1. Baby….babies
2. Fly…. flies
3. Lady….ladies
4. City…. cities

ES is more common.

Nouns ending in a vowel + y add S only.

1. Boy….boys
2. Day….days
3. Key….keys
4. donkey ….donkeys

The following nouns ending in F or FE have VES in the plural.

1. Calf….calves
2. Knife….knives
3. Half….halves
4. Self….selves
5. Leaf….leaves
6. Shelf….shelves
7. life….lives
8. wife….wives
9. thief…thieves
10. wolf….wolves

Most other words ending in F, FE, add S in the plural.

1. Chief….chiefs
2. Safe….safes
3. Roof….roofs
4. Belief….beliefs
5. cliff….cliffs
6. dwarf….dwarfs

The nouns HOOF and SCARF, take either S or VES in the plural.

1. HOOF…..hoofs or hooves
2. SCARFS…..scarfs or scarves

The following nouns from their plural irregularly.

1. Man….men
2. Mouse…mice
3. Woman….women
4. Louse….lice
5. Foot….feet
6. Ox….oxen
7. Tooth….teeth
8. Child….children
9. Goose….geese

The nouns SHEEP and DEER do not change in the plural.

1. one deer….two deer
2. one sheer….six sheep

The word FISH does not normally change in the plural.

1. a fish…..three fish

The form FISHES is less usual.

THREE FISHES can mean three different kinds of fish.

The following nouns also have the same form in the singular and the plural.

1. Aircraft
2. Hovercraft
3. Spacecraft
4. Series
5. Species

The noun person has two plurals : persons and people.

PEOPLE is more usual and less formal.

Some nouns borrowed from foreign languages have special plurals.

Examples :

1. Crisis….crises
2. Bacterium….bacteria
3. Oasis….oases
4. Basis….bases
5. Analysis….analyses
6. Criterion….criteria
7. Appendix….appendices or appendixes
8. Medium….media or mediums
9. Fungus…..fungi or funguses
10. Formula….formulae or formulas
11. Syllabus….syllabi or syllabuses

There are some nouns that are made up of two words.
They are called compound nouns.
Such nouns normally form their plural by changing the second part.

1. School-room….school-rooms
2. Arm-chair…..arm-chairs
3. Book-case….book-cases
4. Work-man….work-men
5. maid-servant….maid-servants

But a few nouns like the following make the first part plural.

1. mother-in-law….mothers-in-law
2. father-in-law….fathers-in-law
3. brother-in-law….brothers-in-law
4. passer-by….passers-by

Where the first part is man or woman both the parts are made plural.

1. Man-teacher….men-teachers
2. Woman-student…..women-students

Note that the following nouns are always plural.

1. Cattle
2. Police
3. People

The cattle are grazing in the field.

The following nouns appear plural but are in fact singular.

1. News - The news is true.
2. Mathematics
3. Physics - Physics is taught by Mr. Mehta.
4. Politics
5. economics
6. the names of certain diseases : measles, mumps, rickets

Rickets is a children’s disease.
The names of objects (tools and clothing) which have two parts are always plural.

1. Spectacles
2. Scissors
3. Scales
4. Shears
5. Trousers
6. Pants
7. Pyjamas
8. Knickers
9. Jeans
10. Where are my spectacles?
11. The trousers are too tight for me.

If we want to say how many, we use pair / pairs of

1. a pair of spectacles
2. two pairs of spectacles
3. three pairs of pants

Other nouns which are always plural include….

1. clothes arms (= weapons)
2. thanks
3. riches
4. pains
5. earnings
6. savings
7. goods
8. manners
9. looks
10. stairs
11. surroundings
12. premises
13. headquarters
14. lodgings
15. regards
16. Give my regards to your father.
17. a savings bank
18. a goods train
19. He has good looks.






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