Singular and Plural Nouns

Singular and Plural Nouns

Singular and Plural Nouns

Singular and Plural Nouns

Nouns are the words used as the names of persons, animals, places, things, ideas or events.

There are two types of nouns in English Grammar. One refers to the singular noun and the other refers to the plural noun.  

These two nouns are also otherwise called the singular number and the plural number. 

 

Singular Noun Definition:

When a noun refers to one person or thing, it is said to be in the Singular Noun/Number. 

 

Singular Noun Examples: 

These Singular Nouns can be categorised in the following manner.

 

  • Singular Nouns related to one person:

singer, dancer, artist, photographer, magician, driver, officer, doctor, engineer, principal, peon, labor, nurse, shopkeeper, gatekeeper, sweeper, salesman, philosopher, teacher, minister, president, businessperson, writer, student, friend, boy, girl, toddler, baby, teenager, woman, man, person etc.,

 

  • Singular Nouns related to one place: 

bank, airport, continent, country, state, city, town, village, hotel, school, classroom, university, college, park, shop, coffee shop, zoo, water park, mall, supermarket, post office, police station,  house, laboratory, library, museum, stadium, building, restaurant, temple, mosque, church, etc.,

 

  • Singular Nouns related to one thing: 

ruler, chair, mobile, dictionary, carpet, lawnmower, bus, computer, courage, telephone, spade,  printer, hammer, bicycle, pen, table, ship, calculator, crayon, sofa, truck, television, pencil, fridge, book, lamp, ladder, train, cooker, whiteboard, marker, duster, register, map, globe etc.,

 

Plural Noun Definition:

When a noun refers to more than one person or thing, it is said to be in the Plural Noun/Number.

Plural Noun Examples:

rooms, tables,  computers, pieces of chalk, students, teachers, parents, books, pens, stories etc.,

Forming of Plural Noun:

There are various RULES to form plural nouns from singular. Most of the rules have been provided here. 

 

They are as follows:

Rule No 1: Most of the Nouns in English form their plural noun by adding ‘s’ at the end of a singular noun. 

Examples:

  • actor – actors
  • animal – animals
  • answer – answers
  • boat – boats
  • book – books
  • bottle –  bottles
  • car – cars
  • cat –  cats
  • cap – caps
  • cow – cows
  • day – days
  • desk – desks
  • dog – dogs
  • example – examples
  • fact- facts 
  • goat – goats
  • group – groups
  • girl -girls
  • house – houses
  • lake – lakes
  • pencil – pencils
  • pen – pens
  • school – schools
  • snake – snakes
  • system – systems
  • teacher – teachers
  • thing – things

 

Rule No 2: When Nouns end in  –’o’,  we generally add –’es’ to form plurals:

Examples:

  • buffalo – buffaloes
  • cargo – cargoes
  • echo – echoes
  • hero – heroes
  • mango – mangoes
  • mosquito – mosquitoes
  • negro – negroes
  • potato – potatoes
  • tomato – tomatoes
  • torpedo – torpedoes
  • veto – vetoes
  • volcano – volcanoes
  • zero – zeroes

 

Exception 1:  Though some nouns end in –’o’, we add only ‘s’.

  • canto – cantos
  • commando – commandos
  • Eskimo – Eskimos
  • logo – logos
  • memento – mementos
  • memo – memos
  • photo – photos
  • piano – pianos
  • pro – pros
  • solo – solos

 

Exception 2: But for some nouns, we can add  ‘s’ and ‘es’.  Both are correct.

  • buffalo – buffalos/buffaloes
  • cargo – cargos/cargoes
  • commando – commandos/commandoes
  • memento – mementos/mementoes
  • mosquito – mosquitos/mosquitoes
  • portico – porticos/porticoes
  • volcano – volcanos/volcanoes

 

Rule No 3: When a noun ends in ’o’ but preceded by a vowel, we add only “s”.

Examples:

  • bamboo – bamboos
  • cuckoo – cuckoos
  • cameo – cameos
  • folio – folios
  • kangaroo – kangaroos
  • portfolio – portfolios
  • radio – radios
  • studio – studios
  • video – videos

 

Rule No 4: When Nouns end in -s, -sh, -ch (soft), or -x, we add -’es’ to form plurals:

Examples:

  • access – accesses
  • address – addresses
  • atlas – atlases
  • ax –  axes
  • beach – beaches
  • bench – benches
  • box – boxes
  • branch – branches
  • brush – brushes
  • bunch – bunches
  • bus – buses
  • church – churches
  • class – classes
  • congress – congresses
  • crash – crashes
  • dish – dishes
  • dress – dresses
  • fox – foxes
  • gas – gases
  • kiss – kisses
  • lunch – lunches
  • mass – masses
  • match – matches
  • patch – patches
  • radish – radishes
  • research – researches
  • search – searches
  • sketch – sketches
  • speech – speeches
  • stress – stresses
  • status – statuses
  • stitch – stitches
  • success – successes
  • tax – taxes
  • touch: touches
  • watch – watches
  • wish – wishes
  • witch – witches

 

Rule No 5: When Nouns end in –’y’ and –’y’ is preceded by a consonant, we change the ‘y’ into ‘i’ and add -’es’ to form plurals.

Examples:

  • berry – berries
  • cherry – cherries
  • city – cities
  • colony – colonies
  • copy – copies
  • country – countries
  • daisy – daisies
  • duty – duties
  • dictionary – dictionaries
  • enemy – enemies
  • fairy – fairies
  • family – families
  • fly – flies
  • gallery – galleries
  • hobby – hobbies
  • injury – injuries
  • lady – ladies
  • lorry – lorries
  • lily – lilies
  • party – parties
  • penny – pennies
  • pony – ponies
  • puppy – puppies
  • reply – replies
  • story – stories
  • study – studies
  • theory – theories
  • trophy – trophies
  • university – universities
  • victory – victories

 

Exception: But, in case –’y’ is preceded by a vowel, we add only –’s’. 

  • boy – boys
  • day – days
  • delay – delays
  • donkey – donkeys
  • essay – essays
  • guy – guys
  • holiday – holidays
  • joy – joys
  • key – keys
  • monkey – monkeys
  • play – plays
  • ray – rays
  • storey – storeys
  • toy – toys
  • tray – trays
  • valley – valleys

 

Rule No 6: When Nouns end in -’ch’ and ‘ch’ is pronounced as ‘k’, we add –’s’ to form the plural. 

Examples:

  • hierarch – hierarchs
  • epoch – epochs
  • eunuch – eunuchs
  • monarch – monarchs
  • patriarch – patriarchs
  • matriarch – matriarchs
  • stomach – stomachs
  • hierarch – hierarchs

 

Rule No 7: When Nouns end in ‘f’ or ‘fe’, we replace it with –v’ and then add -‘es’ to form the plural.

Examples:

  • calf – calves
  • elf – elves
  • half –  halves
  • hoof – hooves
  • knife – knives
  • leaf – leaves
  • life – lives
  • leaf – leaves
  • loaf – loaves
  • scarf – scarves
  • self – selves
  • sheaf – sheaves
  • shelf – shelves
  • thief – thieves
  • wife – wives
  • wolf – wolves

 

Exception 1:  The following nouns become plural when we add only ‘s’.

  • belief – beliefs
  • brief – briefs
  • chief – chiefs
  • cliff – cliffs
  • cuff –  cuffs
  • gulf – gulfs
  • grief – griefs 
  • proof – proofs
  • roof – roofs
  • safe – safes
  • scarf – scarfs
  • serf – serfs
  • strife – strifes
  • turf – turfs

 

Exception 2:  But for some nouns, we can add both -’s’ or –’ves’.  Both are correct.

 

  • dwarf – dwarfs or dwarves 
  • hoof – hoofs or hooves
  • scarf – scarfs or scarves
  • kerchief – kerchief or kerchieves
  • wharf – wharfs or wharves 

 

Rule No 8: We change inside vowels of some nouns to make them plural

Examples:

  • dormouse – dormice
  • goose – geese
  • foot – feet
  • louse – lice
  • man – men
  • mouse – mice
  • person – people
  • tooth – teeth
  • woman – women

 

Exception:  We add -’en’ to a few nouns to make them plural.

  • child –  children
  • ox – oxen
  • brother – brethren (brothers also correct)
  • cow – kine (cows also correct)
  • sister – sistren (sisters also correct)

 

Rule No 9: Some nouns are the same in singular and plural.

Examples:

  • aircraft – aircraft
  • barracks –  barracks
  • deer – deer
  • dozen – dozen
  • gross – gross
  • pair -pair
  • score – score
  • series – series
  • sheep – sheep
  • spacecraft – spacecraft
  • species – species

 

Rule No 10: Some nouns have two types of  plural forms

Examples:

  • antelope – antelope or antelopes
  • fish – fish or fishes
  • reindeer – reindeer or reindeers
  • herring – herring or herrings

 

Rule No 11: Some nouns are used only in the plural form

Names of certain tools and things:

bellows, scissors, spectacles, binoculars, glasses, goggles, sunglasses

headphones, pliers, tweezers, tongs,  pincers, chopsticks etc.

 

Names of clothes and footwear:

shorts, trousers, panties, briefs, drawers, tights, jeans, pants, pyjamas, clothes, shoes, sandals, gloves, slippers,  boots, socks etc.

 

Note: We can use ‘a pair of’ with these plural nouns. 

Examples: 

a pair of trousers, a pair of pants, a pair of glasses, a pair of scissors, a pair of chopsticks, a pair of sandals, a pair of gloves etc.,

 

Certain other different nouns:

earnings, belongings, assets, congratulations, thanks, annals, 

outskirts, premises, surroundings, environs, alms, riches, eaves etc.,

 

Certain Collective Nouns:

Poultry, cattle, vermin, people, gentry, children etc.,

 

Rule No 12: Some nouns are used only in the singular form

Names of subjects and others:

mathematics, physics, economics, electronics, news, innings, politics, wages, ethics etc.,

 

Names of some common diseases:

measles, mumps, rickets etc.,

 

Names of some games: 

billiards, draughts, carroms etc.,

 

Certain Collective Nouns:

knowledge, information, stationery, luggage, furniture, homework, scenery, bread, expenditure money, power etc.,

 

Some nouns that refer to number, weight etc., if preceded by numerals.

dozen, gross, hundred, thousand, horse-power, million-foot etc.,

Examples:

  • Two dozen bananas
  • Two gross of pencils
  • Three hundred rupees
  • A three-foot stick
  • Four thousand dollars

 

Note: But, we add –’s’ to these nouns if they are used without numerals and are followed by ‘of’.

Examples:

  • Dozens of bananas
  • Hundreds of rupees
  • Thousands of people
  • The tree is 30 feet high.

 

Rule No 13: Change of Compound Nouns into plural:

Examples:

 

Compound Nouns in Singular  Compound Nouns in Plural 
By adding -’s’  to the base or important word
Governor-general Governors-general
Doctor Of Philosophy Doctors Of Philosophy
Commander-in-chief Commanders-in-chief
Brother-in-law Brothers-in-law
Father-in-law Fathers-in-law
Mother-in-law Mothers-in-law
Sister-in-law Sisters-in-law
Son-in-law Sons-in-law
Passer-by Passers-by
Looker-on  Lookers -on 
Sergeant Major Sergeants Major
Heir Apparent Heirs Apparent
By removing -’y’ and adding -’ies’  to the base or important word
Attorney-general Attorneys-general
Assistant Secretary Of State Assistant Secretaries Of State
Notary Public Notaries Public
Lady-in-waiting ladies-in-waiting
lily-of-the-valley lilies-of-the-valley
By adding -’s’ or -’es’  to the  word ending
Step-parent Step-parents
Step-daughter Step-daughters
Step-mother Step-mothers
Maid-servant Maid-servants
General Staff General Staff(s)
Court-Martial Court-Martials / Courts-Martial
Vice-Principal Vice-Principals
Book-case Book-cases
Go-between Go-betweens
Has-been Has-beens
Good-for-nothing Good-for-nothings
Forget-me-not Forget-me-nots
Higher-up Higher-ups
Grown-up Grown-ups
Mix-up Mix-ups
Takeoff Takeoffs
Armful  Armfuls
Handful Handfuls
Cupful Cupfuls
Mouthful Mouthfuls
Tablespoonful Tablespoonfuls
Blackboard Blackboards
Bystander Bystanders
Toothbrush Toothbrushes
By changing both the  words
Man-servant Men-servants
Man-driver Men-drivers
Woman-writer Women-writers
Woman-teacher Women-teachers
Woman-doctor Woman-doctors (Women-doctors)
By changing  words ‘man and woman’ into ‘men and women’
Fisherman Fishermen
Workman Workmen
Boatman Boatmen
Man-of-war Men-of-war
Saleswoman Saleswomen
Workingwoman Workingwomen
By adding -’s’ to the word ‘man’, when it refers to any ethnic group, race or civilian 
Mussalman Mussalmans
German Germans
Norman Normans
Brahman Brahmans
Other phrases
Many Stops For Buses Many Bus Stops
150 Trees With Oranges 150 Orange Trees 

 

Rule No 14: In the case of letters, numbers, and abbreviations, we add an apostrophe and -’s’ to make them plural. 

Examples:

  • Akshay, write your q’s and p’s clearly.
  • Mohini, add two 8’s and subtract three 2’s.
  • Ten M.A.’s and only two B.E.’s have attended the interview.

 

Rule No 15: Some Greek and Latin Nouns can form their plurals in the following manner:

1.Some nouns can be added –’es’ in place of –’is’ to make them plural

Examples:

  • analysis – analyses
  • axis – axes
  • basis – bases
  • crisis – crises
  • ellipsis – ellipses
  • hypotheses – hypothesis
  • neurosis – neuroses
  • oasis – oases
  • paralysis – paralyses
  • parenthesis – parentheses
  • synopsis – synopses
  • thesis – theses

 

2. Some Nouns that end in -’a’ can be added -’e’ to make the plural

Examples:

  • antenna – antennae or antennas
  • alga – algae
  • formula – formulae
  • larva – larvae
  • nebula – nebulae
  • vertebra – vertebrae 

 

3. Some nouns can be added –’i’ in place of –’us’ to make them plural

Examples:

  • cactus – cacti
  • focus – foci 
  • fungus – fungi
  • nucleus – nuclei
  • radius – radii
  • syllabus – syllabi
  • terminus – termini 

 

4. Some nouns can be added –’a’ in place of –’um’ to make them plural

Examples:

  • agendum (agenda) – agenda  (nowadays, agenda is used mostly as a singular form)
  • aquarium – aquaria or aquariums
  • bacterium – bacteria
  • curriculum – curricula
  • corrigendum – corrigenda
  • datum – data
  • erratum – errata
  • forum – fora
  • gymnasium – gymnasia or gymnasiums
  • maximum – maxima or maximums
  • medium – media
  • memorandum – memoranda or memorandums
  • millennium – millennia
  • moratorium –  moratoria or moratoriums
  • podium – podia or podiums  
  • referendum – referenda or referendums
  • stratum – strata

 

4. Some nouns can be added –’ices’ in place of –’ex/ix’ to make them plural

Examples:

  • appendix – appendices or appendixes
  • index – indices or indexes
  • matrix – matrices
  • vertex – vertices

 

6. Some nouns can be added –’a’ in place of –’on’ to make them plural

Examples:

  • automaton – automata or automatons
  • criterion – criteria
  • ganglion – ganglia or ganglions
  • polyhedron – polyhedra
  • phenomenon – phenomena

 

7. Some nouns that end in –’ma’ can be added –’ta’ to make them plural

Examples:

  • dogma – dogmata
  • stigma – stigmata

 

8. The following words are from French:

Examples:

  • madame (madam) –  mesdames 
  • monsieur – messieurs

Greek and Latin Nouns Worksheets

 

Rule No 16: Some Nouns have two plural forms each with a different meaning.

Examples:

Singular Plural Meaning
brother brothers sons of the same parent
brethren members of a society or a community
Cloth cloths pieces of cloth
clothes dresses or garments
Die dies stamps for coining
dice small cubes used in games
Index indexes tables of contents to books
indices

signs used in algebra

Penny pennies number of coins
pence amount in value
fish fish denote the same kind of two or more fish
fishes denote the different kinds of fish
genius geniuses intelligent or talented persons
genii

spirits or ghosts

 

Rule No 17: Some Nouns have two meanings in the singular but only one in the plural:

Examples:

Singular Meaning Plural Meaning
people  1. nation

2. men or women

peoples nations
powder 1.dust

2. a dose of medicine 

powders doses of medicine
practice 1. habit 

2. exercise of a profession

practices habits
light 1.a lamp

2. radiance

lights lamps

 

Rule No 18: Some nouns have one meaning in the singular, but two in the plural. 

Examples:

Singular Meaning Plural Meaning
arm upper limb arms 1.upper limbs

2.weapons

colour hue colours 1.hues

2. the flags of a regiment

custom habit customs 1.habits

2.duties levied on imports

manner method manners 1.methods

2.correct behaviour

minute A unit of time minutes 1.units of time

2.proceedings of a meeting

moral a moral lesson morals 1.moral lessons

2.conduct

number a quantity numbers 1.quantities

2.verses

effect result effects 1) results

2) property

pain suffering pains 1.suffering

2.care, exertion

quarter fourth part quarters 1.fourth parts

2.lodgings

spectacle a sight spectacles 1.sights

2.eye-glasses

premise proposition  premises 1. propositions 

2. buildings

letter 1.a letter of the alphabet

2.epistle

letters 1.letters of the alphabet

2.epistles

3.literature

 

Rule No 19: Some nouns have different meanings in the singular and in the plural. 

Examples:

Singular Meaning Plural Meaning
advice counsel advices information
air atmosphere airs affected manners
authority power authorities persons in power
beef flesh of ox beeves bulls, cattle and cows
blind unable to see because of injury, disease, or a congenital condition blinds a screen for a window
good benefit, well-being goods merchandise
compass extent, range compasses in an instrument for drawing circles 
iron a metal irons fetters 
physic medicine physics natural science
character the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual. characters a person in a novel, play, or film
respect  regard respects compliments
force strength forces troops
return coming back returns statistics
vesper evening vespers evening prayers
sand a kind of matter sands a desert
wood the hard fibrous material that forms the main substance of the trunk or branches of a tree or shrub, used for fuel or timber. woods a small forest

 

Rule No 20: Some nouns are normally used in the plural. 

 

1.Proper Nouns:

India, Telangana, Warangal, Ashoka, Mary, Ganga etc

 

Note.1 When a Proper Noun is used in the plural, it becomes a Common Noun.

He is a Bruce Lee in fighting.

Kalidasa is called the Shakespeare of India

 

Note.2 But Some Nouns can be used in Plural like

The United States of America, The Alps, The Himalayas etc.,

 

2.Abstract Nouns:

 

Hope, charity, love, kindness, friendship, death, beauty etc.,

 

Note: When the Abstract Noun is used in the plural, it becomes a Common Noun.

Truly, the beauties of Kashmir are enticing.

 

3.Material Nouns:

 

Copper, iron, tin, wood, glass, rice, oil etc.,

Note: When a Material Noun is used in the plural, it becomes a Common Noun

 

Examples:

He does not have any coppers with him. (copper coins)

The convict has been found in irons. (fetters)

Last summer, we enjoyed ourselves in the nearby woods. (forests)