key_small  In order to change a singular noun to its plural form in English, we usually add "s". For example, the plural of book is books. The plural of table is tables.

Do you know why and when we add -ies, -ves, -s and -es to the plural nouns?


Here are some of the most important plural spelling rules:


1. Regular Plurals : add -s to regular plurals. Adding an s is all you need to do to form a regular plural. It is so easy !!

file/files, centre/centres, girl/girls, pen/pens, computer/computers.


2. Words ending in -ch, -s, -sh, -x, -z : we add -es.  Words ending in -ch, -s, -sh, -x, -z add -es to form a plural. *

wash/washes, box/boxes, match/matches, glass/glasses

* There's one exception to this rule. If the -ch ending is pronounced with a 'k' then add -s. (stomach/stomachs)


3.  Words ending in -f or -fe : changing to -ves.  The words ending in -f or -fe change to -ves or -s  * -  **

knife/knives, life/lives, wife/wives, shelf/shelves

exceptions: we add -s  to these words:  roof/roofs, proof/proofs, chief/chiefs.

**  These words could be either -ves or -s :  scarf/scarves or scarfs, dwarf/dwarves or dwarfs.


4. Words ending in Y : change -y to -ies or -s.

a. If the word ends in a vowel -a,e,i,o,u, + y then just add -s.

boy/boys, journey/journeys, key/keys, play/plays.

b. If the word ends in a consonant + y then it changes to -ies.

country/countries, baby/babies, body/bodies, memory/memories.


5. Words ending in O :  we add -s or -es to words ending in O.

You can either add an -s or -es to words ending in -O or sometimes they're spelt either way.

a. If a word ends in a vowel -a,e,i,o,u + -O then we sometimes add -s.

radio/radios, stereo/stereos, video/videos

b. If a words ends in consonant + -O then we sometimes add -s or -es.


No rules for this - you just have to learn them or use a dictionary.

kilo/kilos, zero/zeros, piano/pianos, photo/photos

but hero/heroes, potato/potatoes, volcano/volcanoes, tomato/tomatoes.


6. Irregular plurals

a woman / some women,  a man / 5 men,  a child / children, a person / people, louse /  lice

a tooth / teeth,  a foot / feet,   a mouse / mice,  a penny / pence,  a goose / geese,  an ox / oxen


7. No change between plural and singular.

There are some words that are the same in the plural as in the singular:

sheep, series, fish, cod, salmon, aircraft, cattle, scissors, deer, trousers.


8. Latin and Greek plural forms

Some nouns of Latin and Greek origin have kept their own plural endings. The plural ending "es" as in the word "analyses" is pronounced [i:z], the ending "i" as in the word "alumni" is pronounced [ai], the ending "ae" as in "vertebrae" is pronounced [i:].

analysis / analyses,    basis / bases,   crisis / crises,   diagnosis / diagnoses,  hypothesis / hypotheses, thesis / theses,   corpus / corpora,  cactus / cacti,  nucleus / nuclei,   datum / data,  phenomenon / phenomena,   criterion / criteria,    fungus / fungi,   oasis / oases