Wanna learn the plural of nouns in English? So, you’re at the right place. Keep on reading!
The English Language has both regular and irregular plural forms of nouns. You don’t have to be a genius to understand that. Regular forms follow a pattern; so, all you have to learn is that pattern. But, sometimes the pattern doesn’t follow, so you have to learn the “rules” to have plural of nouns in English correctly.
1. Plural of Nouns in English » main pattern
The main pattern (or rule) says that all you have to do is to add an ‘s’ to the end of the noun:
- car » cars
- book » books
- house » houses
- pen » pens
- girl » girls
Most words (nouns) in the English Language follow this pattern. Just keep that in mind:
to form the plural of nouns in English all I need is an ‘s’
However, some words need special attention.
2. Plural of Nouns in English » sibilant sounds
These are words (nouns) that end with ‘s‘, ‘sh‘, ‘z‘, ‘x‘ and ‘ch‘. Actually, the real tip is not the way they are spelt, but the way they are pronounced. Thus, the rule should be nouns that end with a hissing (sibilant) sound (s, sh, z, x, ch) add -es to form the plural:
- glass » glasses
- dish » dishes
- buzz » buzzes
- box » boxes
- church » churches
3. Plural of Nouns in English » consonant + y
Pay also attention to words that end with a consonant + y. In this case, you have to take the ‘y‘ out of the word and add ‘ies‘. But remember: only to words that end in a sequence of consonant + y. Take a look:
- enemy » enemies
- baby » babies
- city » cities
- probability » probabilities
4. How to better learn plural of nouns in English
Even though there are these patterns (rules) to form the plural of nouns in the English Language, the real best thing is to have a very good dictionary at hand. So, when in doubt, you look up the word in the dictionary to check its plural form.
For example, say that you are not sure about the plural form of “probability“. Then, you go to Meriam-Webster Online Dictionary and type the word “probability” in the search box. When you get the result for your search, you get the following information:
- Main Entry: prob·a·bil·i·ty
- Pronunciation: \ˌprä-bə-ˈbi-lə-tē\
- Function: noun
- Inflected Form(s): plural prob·a·bil·i·ties
Notice that you have the plural form of the word in there. In my opinion, it’s way better to check a dictionary than trying to memorize rules and their exceptions.
When the basic pattern is not followed we have what is called Irregular Plural Form. Wanna read about it, so go to the tip Plural of Nouns – Irregular Forms!