Definition: Singular means only one. Plural means more than one.
In order to make a noun plural, it is usually only necessary to add s. However, there are many irregular nouns that add es. The rules for spelling plural nouns are based on the letters at the end of the word. The chart below breaks up the rules into categories so that they are easier to remember.
|Most nouns||Add s to form the plural.||cat ⇒ cats|
truck ⇒ trucks
bug ⇒ bugs
|Nouns that end in s, sh, x, ch, or z||Add es to form the plural. For words that end in z, add an extra z before the es.Hint:It is too hard to pronounce the words without the e. Try it – buss, brushs, foxs… You sound like a snake!||bus ⇒ buses|
brush ⇒ brushes
fox ⇒ foxes
beach ⇒ beaches
quiz ⇒ quizzes
|Nouns ending in f or fe||Some nouns ending in f or fe just add s. Sometimes it is necessary to change the f to a v. In that case, always end the word with es.|
Check a dictionary if you are unsure which rule a noun follows.
|roof ⇒ roofs|
safe ⇒ safes
shelf ⇒ shelves
wife ⇒ wives
|Nouns that end in vowel + y||Add s to form the plural.||donkey ⇒ donkeys|
highway ⇒ highways
|Nouns that end in vowel + o||Add s to form the plural.||oreo ⇒ oreos|
scenario ⇒ scenarios
|Nouns that end in consonant + y||Change the y to i and add es to form the plural.||family ⇒ families|
trophy ⇒ trophies
|Nouns that end in consonant + o||Easy rule:|
Usually add es except for musical terms.
Some nouns that end in consonant + o add es. Many can be spelled either way. Look in the dictionary if you want to be sure.
These nouns always add es: potato, tomato, hero, echo, banjo, embargo, veto, torpedo.
Here are the preferred spellings of some plural nouns: buffaloes, dominoes, mosquitoes, volcanoes, tornadoes, ghettos, mangos, mottos, cargos, halos, mementos.
potato ⇒ potatoes
dingo ⇒ dingoes
piano ⇒ pianos
soprano ⇒ sopranos
The chart below explains some exceptions to the rules.
|Words from foreign languages, including musical terms||Simply add s.||taco ⇒ tacos|
kimono ⇒ kimonos
aria ⇒ arias
|Words that are proper nouns||Simply add s.||Eskimo ⇒ Eskimos|
Picasso ⇒ Picassos
|Words that are short forms of longer words||Simply add s.||photo (photograph) ⇒ photos|
kilo (kilogram) ⇒ kilos
memo (memorandum) ⇒ memos
|Hint: If a musical term or proper noun ends in s still add es.||chorus ⇒ choruses|
Jones ⇒ Joneses
Are you confused yet? The easiest way to handle the plural nouns in this lesson is to remember a few shortcuts:
- Memorize the short list of words that must end in es.
- Add es to words that end in consonant + o.
- For words that end in consonant + y, change y to i and add es.
- Remember that foreign words usually end in s, not es.