Singular Nouns and Plural Nouns



Singular Nouns and Plural Nouns :



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. The Noun
  2. Kinds of Nouns
  3. Kinds of Nouns in English
  4. Types of Nouns in English
  5. Correct Usage of Nouns
  6. Classification of Nouns
  7. Proper Nouns
  8. Common Nouns
  9. Abstract Nouns
  10. Collective Nouns
  11. Nouns of Multitude
  12. Material Nouns
  13. Compound Nouns
  14. Concrete Nouns
  15. Countable Nouns
  16. Uncountable Nouns
  17. Count Nouns
  18. Mass Nouns
  19. Pronouns
  20. Abstract Nouns formed from Adjectives
  21. Abstract Nouns formed from Common Nouns
  22. Abstract Nouns formed from Verbs
  23. Abstract Nouns of the same form as Verbs
  24. Absolute Phrases
  25. Noun and Gender
  26. Nouns and Gender
  27. Masculine Nouns and Feminine Nouns
  28. Masculine Nouns
  29. Feminine Nouns
  30. Ways of forming the feminine of nouns
  31. Exceptional Masculine Nouns and Feminine Nouns
  32. Exceptional Feminine Nouns
  33. Foreign Feminine Nouns
  34. Nouns in Common Gender
  35. Common Gender Nouns
  36. Neuter Pronouns
  37. Neuter Gender Nouns
  38. Gender of Personified Things
  39. Noun and Case
  40. Kinds of Cases in English
  41. Noun and Number
  42. Singular and Plural
  43. Singular Nouns and Plural Nouns
  44. Ways of forming plurals
  45. Formation of Plurals
  46. Compound Nouns and Plurals
  47. Noun Infinitive
  48. Noun to Verb
  49. The Noun


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