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Rules of using plurals

Rules of using plurals
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An overview of the ways in which plurals are formed in English by organising them into three broad groups. Let us look at the rules in more detail ...

dr t vijay kumarAn overview of the ways in which plurals are formed in English by organising them into three broad groups. Let us look at the rules in more detail

Rule 1: Add an -s to make a plural of most words (book�books, pen�pens).

Rule 2: Add an -es to words that end in a 'hissing sound' (-s -z -x -ch -sh) (bench�benches, box�boxes).

Rule 3: Add an -s to words that end in a vowel + y (-ay, -ey, -iy, -oy, -uy) (day�days, pulley�pulleys). But if the word ends in a consonant + y, change the �y into �ies (city�cities, lady�ladies).

Rule 4: For acronyms and Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3�) add only an �s at the end (ATM�ATMs, 6�6s).

Rule 5: Some words that end in -f can be changed into plurals by adding �s (roof�roofs) but in others the �f becomes �ves (leaf�leaves). A few other words that end in �f, have both plural forms (scarf� scarfs or scarves). Words that end in �fe can also be made into plurals by replacing the �fe with �ves (wife�wives). For words ending in �ff and �ffe add only �s to make them plurals (cliff�cliffs, giraffe�giraffes).

Rule 6: Plurals of words ending in -o can be formed by adding either -s or -es. There is no rule when to use -s or -es. But it helps to remember that we often add -s to short forms of longer words (photo�photos, auto--autos), for words that end in a vowel plus an -o (-ao, -eo, -io, -oo, -uo) (video�videos, radio�radios) and all musical terms (piano�pianos). Some nouns can have two plural forms (buffalo - buffalos/buffaloes; mosquito - mosquitos/mosquitoes).

hippopotamusLet us now look at some special singular-plural rules. Rule 7: Uncountable nouns cannot be made into plurals (milk, furniture, information). Rule 8: Some nouns have only a plural form (jeans, scissors, binoculars), some others end with �s but are singular (politics, measles), a few other nouns have the same form for singular and plural (sheep, headquarters, crossroads). Some nouns appear as singular-plural but are in fact two different words (good�goods, arms�arms, spectacle�spectacles). Rule 9: Some singular nouns have 'irregular' plural forms (ie. the plural is formed by adding not the usual �s or �es but some other letters or by changing internal letters) (child�children, tooth�teeth, mouse�mice). Rule 10: Many 'foreign' words in English (ie. words borrowed from other languages) also have irregular plural form (datum�data, criterion�criteria).

Since there are so many ways to make plurals in English, it is understandable that no one can really remember 'all' of them. So, the only suggestion is, consult a dictionary whenever in doubt. Or, learn Esperanto instead! In that easy-to-learn language, there is only one way to form plurals�by adding the suffix �j to all nouns and adjectives!

Choose the correct alternative
1. My jeans _____ (is/are) blue. 2. The furniture in the room _____ (is/are) is comfortable. 3. Mathematics _____ (is/are) a tough subject. 4. The stairs _____ (is/are) on your left. 5. Friends, here _____ (is/are) the latest news! 6. The scissors _____ (is/are) very sharp. 7. The United States of America _____ (is/are) is a big country. 8. More information _____ (is/are) available on the website. 9. My reading glasses _____ (is/are) new. 10. Homework _____ (is/are) is not welcome!
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