Rules of using plurals

Rules of using plurals

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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