How to make words that end in y plural

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How to Make Words That End in Y Plural

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Little ExplorersPicture Dictionary EnchantedLearning.comGrammar

Writing Activities

Plural Nouns

When you refer to more than one noun, you use the plural form of that noun.

The plural of a noun is usually formed by adding an 's' at the end of the word. For example: the plural of cat is cats; the plural of flower is flowers, and the plural of computer is computers.

If the word ends in s, x, z, ch, or sh, the plural is usually formed by adding 'es.

' This is because when you add an 's' to the end of these words, you have to add an extra syllable to the the word in order to prounounce it.

For example: the plural of boss is bosses, the plural of box is boxes, the plural of buzz is buzzes, the plural of lunch is lunches, and the plural of brush is brushes.

Not all plurals end in 's' or 'es'. Irregular nouns are those that do not use the regular plural ending. The following are some irregular plurals.

Type of Noun Rule for Forming the Plural Examples Exceptions
Word ends in s, x, ch, or sh Add 'es' to the end arch/arches, atlas/atlases, ax/axes, bash/bashes, bench/benches, bias/biases, botch/botches, box/boxes, brush/brushes, bunch/bunches, bus/buses, bush/bushes, canvas/canvases, catch/catches, church/churches, class/classes, compass/compasses, crash/crashes, cross/crosses, dais/daises, dish/dishes, dress/dresses, equinox/equinoxes, etch/etches, fetch/fetches, fix/fixes, fox/foxes, gas/gases, grass/grasses, itch/itches, kiss/kisses, larch/larches, lash/lashes, latch/latches, mantis/mantises, march/marches, marsh/marshes, mash/mashes, mass/masses, match/matches, moss/mosses, mix/mixes, pass/passes, patch/patches, pox/poxes, radish/radishes, sash/sashes, sketch/sketches, starch/starches, stitch/stitches, tax/taxes, touch/touches, trash/trashes, twitch/twitches, vehicle/vehicles, wish/wishes, witch/witches, wrench/wrenches axis/axes, ox/oxen
Word ends in z Add 'zes' to the end buzz/buzzes, fizz/fizzes, klutz/klutzes, quiz/quizzes, topaz/topazes, waltz/waltzes
Ending in 'y' preceded by a vowel Add an 's' alley/alleys, attorney/attorneys, essay/essays, boy/boys, delay/delays, guy/guys, jay/jays, key/keys, osprey/ospreys, play/plays, ray/rays, stray/strays, toy/toys, tray/trays, turkey/turkeys, valley/valleys, way/ways
Ending in 'y' preceded by a consonant Change the final 'y' to 'ies' ally/allies, army/armies, baby/babies, beauty/beauties, berry/berries, cherry/cherries, city/cities, colony/colonies, country/countries, dictionary/dictionaries, duty/duties, enemy/enemies, fairy/fairies, family/families, ferry/ferries, fly/flies, gallery/galleries, history/histories, injury/injuries, jelly/jellies, kitty/kitties, lady/ladies, lily/lilies, navy/navies, history/histories, party/parties, pony/ponies, reply/replies, secretary/secretaries, sky/skies, spy/spies, story/stories, study/studies, symphony/symphonies, theory/theories, trophy/trophies, try/tries, university/universities, variety/varieties, victory/victories
Ends with 'f' or 'fe' (but not 'ff' or 'ffe') Change the 'f' or 'fe' to 'ves' calf/calves, elf/elves, half/halves, hoof/hooves, knife/knives, leaf/leaves, life/lives, loaf/loaves, knife/knives, loaf/loaves, scarf/scarves, self/selves, shelf/shelves, wife/wives, wolf/wolves belief/beliefs, chef/chefs, chief/chiefs, dwarf/dwarfs, grief/griefs, gulf/gulfs, handkerchief/handkerchiefs, kerchief/kerchiefs, mischief/mischiefs, muff/muffs, oaf/oafs, proof/proofs, roof/roofs, safe/safes, turf/turfs
Ends with 'o' Add 'es' buffalo/buffaloes, cargo/cargoes, echo/echoes, embargo/embargoes, grotto/grottoes, hero/heroes, mosquito/mosquitoes, motto/mottoes, potato/potatoes, tomato/tomatoes, torpedo/torpedoes, veto/vetoes, volcano/volcanoes, zero/zeroes albino/albinos, armadillo/armadillos, auto/autos, cameo/cameos, cello/cellos, combo/combos, duo/duos, ego/egos, folio/folios, halo/halos, inferno/infernos, lasso/lassos, memento/mementos, memo/memos, piano/pianos, photo/photos, portfolio/portfolios, pro/pros, silo/silos, solo/solos, stereo/stereos, studio/studios, taco/tacos, tattoo/tattoos, tuxedo/tuxedos, typo/typos, veto/vetoes, video/videos, yo/yos, zoo/zoos
Irregular Variable child/children, die/dice, foot/feet, goose/geese, louse/lice, man/men, mouse/mice, ox/oxen, person/people, that/those, this/these, tooth/teeth, woman/women
Ends with 'is' (from a Greek root) Change final 'is' to 'es' analysis/analyses, axis/axes, basis/bases, crisis/crises, ellipsis/ellipses, hypotheses/hypothesis, neurosis/neuroses, oasis/oases, paralysis/paralyses, parenthesis/parentheses, synopsis/synopses, synthesis/syntheses, thesis/theses
Ends with 'us' (if the word is from the Latin) Change final 'us' to 'i' alumnus/alumni, bacillus/bacilli, cactus/cacti, focus/foci, fungus/fungi, locus/loci, nucleus/nuclei, radius/radii, stimulus/stimuli, syllabus/syllabi, terminus/termini, torus/tori abacus/abacuses, crocus/crocuses, genus/genera, octopus/octopuses (not octopi, since octopus is from the Greek language), rhombus/rhombuses, walrus/walruses
Ends with 'um' Change final 'um' to 'a' bacterium/bacteria, curriculum/curricula, datum/data, erratum/errata, gymnasium/gymnasia, medium/media, memorandum/memoranda, ovum/ova, stratum/strata album/albums, stadium/stadiums
Ends with 'a' but not 'ia' (from a Latin root) Change final 'a' to 'ae' alga/algae, alumna/alumnae, antenna/antennae, larva/larvae, nebula/nebulae, pupa/pupae (or pupas), vertebra/vertebrae, vita/vitae agenda/agendas, alfalfa/alfalfas, aurora/auroras, banana/bananas, barracuda/barracudas, cornea/corneas, nova/novas, phobia/phobias
Ends with 'on' (from a Greek root — not 'tion') Change final 'on' to 'a' automaton/automata, criterion/criteria, phenomenon/phenomena, polyhedron/polyhedra balloon/balloons, carton/cartons and many, many others
Ends with 'ex' Change final 'ex' to 'ices' vertex/vertices, vortex/vortices annex/annexes, complex/complexes, duplex/duplexes, hex/hexes, index/indexes or indices
Unchanging Singular and plural are the same advice, aircraft, bison, corn, deer, equipment , evidence, fish (sometimes), gold, information, jewelry, kin, legislation, luck, luggage, moose, music, offspring, sheep, silver, swine, trousers, trout, wheat
Only the plural exists Unchanging barracks, bellows, cattle, congratulations, deer, dregs, eyeglasses, gallows, headquarters, mathematics, means, measles, mumps, news, oats, pants, pliers, pajamas, scissors, series, shears, shorts, species, tongs, tweezers, vespers
Compound nouns The plural ending is usually added to the main noun attorney general/attorneys general, bill of fare/bills of fare, chief of staff/chiefs of staff, court-martial/courts-martial, daughter-in-law/daughters-in-law, father-in-law/fathers-in-law, full moon/full moons, he-man/he-men, journeyman/journeymen, lady-in-waiting/ladies-in-waiting, lieutenant colonel/lieutenant colonels, maid-of-honor, maids-of-honor, master-at-arms/masters-at-arms, middle class/middle classes, mother-in-law/mothers-in-law, post office/post offices, secretary of state/secretaries of state, sergeant major/sergeants major, son-in-law/sons-in-law, passer-by/passers-by, she-wolf/she-wolves, stepsister/stepsisters, ten-year-old/ten-year-olds

Note: Collective nouns are words for a group of items or beings. For example, a group of cows is called a herd, a group of baseball players is called a team, and a group of ants is called a colony. For some collective nouns for groups of animals, click here.

Related Pages, Activities and Worksheets:

How to Make Words That End in Y PluralPlural Animal Nouns #1Write plural animal nouns for dog, puppy, calf, wolf, monkey, fly, mouse, louse, sheep, and trout. Then rewrite each sentence with the underlined noun made into a plural — kitten, ox, deer, goose, moose. Or go to the answers. How to Make Words That End in Y PluralPlural Animal Nouns #2Write plural animal nouns for bird, fox, goose, moose, salmon, butterfly, pony, cattle, deer, and ox. Then rewrite each sentence with the underlined noun made into a plural — guppy, donkey, canary, cod, reindeer. Or go to the answers. How to Make Words That End in Y PluralPlural Birthday-related NounsWrite plural nouns for gift, candy, cake, candle, party, wish, friend, guest, clown, balloon. Then rewrite each sentence with the underlined nouns made into plurals — chair, present, person, bow, ribbon, gift, child. Or go to the answers. How to Make Words That End in Y PluralPlural Body-related NounsWrite plural nouns for foot, elbow, tooth, eye, body, wrist, ankle, artery, calf, and vertebra. Then rewrite each sentence with the underlined nouns made into plurals — arm, leg, foot, knee, finger, toe, tooth. Or go to the answers.
How to Make Words That End in Y PluralPlural Clothing NounsWrite plural clothing nouns for dress, pants, coat, shirt, scarf, shorts, coat, glove, muff, and sandal. Then rewrite each sentence with the underlined noun made into a plural — sock, shoe, scarf, cap, dress, mitten, boot. Or go to the answers. How to Make Words That End in Y PluralPlural Fall/Autumn NounsWrite plural fall nouns for leaf, haystack, rake, apple, hay, pumpkin, scarecrow, cobweb, turkey, and corn. Then rewrite each sentence with the underlined noun made into a plural — field, bale, child, pear, plum, spider, spiderling. Or go to the answers. How to Make Words That End in Y PluralPlural Flower NounsWrite plural flower words for daisy, tulip, iris, violet, lily, aster, poppy, rose, zinnia, and crocus. Then rewrite each sentence with the underlined noun made into a plural — bouquet, pansy, orchid, peony, daffodil. Or go to the answers. How to Make Words That End in Y PluralPlural Food NounsWrite plural food nouns for cherry, jelly, dish, peach, tomato, potato, sandwich, glass, loaf, and knife. Then rewrite each sentence with the underlined noun made into a plural — berry, cheese, candy, meatloaf, dish, herb, spice. Or go to the answers.
How to Make Words That End in Y PluralPlural People NounsWrite plural people nouns for baby, lady, woman, man, family, wife, boy, girl, child, and self. Then rewrite each sentence with the underlined noun made into a plural — lady, gentleman, toddler, aunt, uncle, kid, adult, fireman, hero. Or go to the answers. Plural Plant NounsWrite plural plant nouns for leaf, bush, branch, twig, tree, sprout, blossom, root, ivy, and cactus. Then rewrite each sentence with the underlined noun made into a plural — bough, cone, seed, bulb, flower, bud, vines. Or go to the answers. Plural School NounsWrite plural school nouns for desk, class, lunch, recess, library, study, bus, sketch, dictionary, and trophy. Then rewrite each sentence with the underlined noun made into a plural — school, pencil, university, cafeteria, child, compass. Or go to the answers. Plural Sports NounsWrite plural sports nouns for play, ski, stadium arena, trophy, victory, athlete, pitch, toss, and referee. Then rewrite each sentence with the underlined noun made into a plural — player, team, loss, race, uniform, match. Or go to the answers.
Plural Spring NounsWrite plural spring nouns for tulip, crocus, butterfly, rainbow, grass, sprout, egg, bloom, robin, umbrella. Then rewrite each sentence with the underlined noun made into a plural — baby, blossom, puddle, tadpole, frog, bird, chick. Or go to the answers. Plural Summer NounsWrite plural spring nouns for vacation, daisy, popsicle, ferry, fly, plane, beach, hurricane, shorts, sunglasses. Then rewrite each sentence with the underlined noun made into a plural — family, mosquito, cactus, towel, parent, trip. Or go to the answers. Plural Thanksgiving NounsWrite plural Thanksgiving-related nouns for turkey, feast, yam, cranberry, leaf, potato, pie, family, loaf, colony. Then rewrite each sentence with the underlined noun made into a plural — roll, dish, pumpkin, pie, drumstick, slice. Or go to the answers. Plural Winter NounsWrite plural winter nouns for snowman, coat, icicle, earmuff, scarf, skate, snowflake, chimney, blizzard, fireplace. Then rewrite each sentence with the underlined noun made into a plural — holiday, sweater, jacket, ski, glove, mitten. Or go to the answers.
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Lesson 28 Spelling Rule (Plural)

When you change the form of a word to make it plural (more than one) follow this rule: Words ending with a consonant + y, change y to i and add es.

Ex: Look at the word “puppy”, it ends with consonant “p” + y, apply the spelling rule (change y to i and add es) = puppies

Read the words listed below

How to Make Words That End in Y Plural How to Make Words That End in Y Plural

army armies
baby babies
body bodies
bunny bunnies
candy candies
daddy daddies
family families
fly flies
kitty kitties
lady ladies
lilly lillies
mommy mommies
party parties
puppy puppies
sky skies
spy spies
supply supplies

Plural endings: If the word ends in a vowel + y, add s to the word. Example: key      keys

How to Make Words That End in Y Plural How to Make Words That End in Y Plural

bay bays
day days
key keys
kidney kidneys
tray trays
way ways

Dictation/Spelling Practice for Plurals (-y).

Review the spelling rule regarding “y”.

______________________________         ______________________________

______________________________         ______________________________

Read these sentences

  • The ladies gave us jerseys for our game.
  • We have two puppies and three cats.
  • Did the babies play with the keys?
  • Did you see the bunnies in the valley?
  • The puppies chased the kittens.
  • I lost my keys in the card shop.
  • I gave a tray of kidneys to my cat.
  • Do alley cats live in alleys?
  • I wish there were no armies.
  • The lady prays at dinner time.
  • Wesley studies every night.

How to Make Words That End in Y Plural Make a simple illustration of one of these sentences. If you have time for more elaborate art, use the back of this paper.

Plurals with -ies (for words ending in Y)

Now that you’re still fresh into the new year, let’s practise your spelling with some irregular plurals.

This lesson is about words that end in Y. These get -ies in the plural (for more than one).

How to Make Words That End in Y Plural
How to Make Words That End in Y Plural
How to Make Words That End in Y Plural
How to Make Words That End in Y Plural

Exception to the Rule:
There’s only one exception to the rule and that is that July in the plural is with just an –s:

Summers in my country mean hot Julys and Augusts.

Quiz

Click here to do this quiz online.  

Plural Nouns Guide

How to Make Words That End in Y Plural

Let's look at the basics for forming and spelling plural nouns, which can be tricky. There are many exceptions, however there are several tips and tricks that will really help you. Before we get started, let's quickly review both singular and plural nouns:

Singular nouns name one (single) person, place, thing, animal or idea.

  • Examples:  apple, culture, finger, cat, bed

Plural nouns name more than one person, place thing, animal or idea.

  • Examples:  apples, cultures, fingers, cats, beds

(By the way, for an overview of all the different types of nouns, click here).

Regular Plural Nouns

Normally, the plural of a noun is formed by adding -s:

  • dog
  • a month
  • one plant
  • my face
  • this cake
  1. dogs
  2. three months
  3. several plants
  4. their faces
  5. these cakes

Other Ways to Form Plural Nouns

Although we add -s to change most singular nouns to plural nouns, there are many nouns that have a different ending in the plural. 

I know what your thinking…aaarrghh! The reason many of these have spelling changes is to make them easier to pronounce. For example, if the plural of “bus” were “buss” it would either sound strange or we'd have the same sound. “Buses” is much easier to pronounce.

Luckily, there are a few simple tips and tricks (otherwise known as rules) that will help you:

Rule 1:  Add -es Ending for words ending with -s, -x, -sh, -ch, -ss

Look at the end of the word and if it ends in the letters above, you add an –es.

For example: 

  • words ending in –s:    gas — gases, bus — buses, lens — lenses 
  • words ending in –x:     box — boxes, reflex — reflexes, hoax — hoaxes, tax — taxes
  • words ending in –sh:   brush — brushes , wish — wishes, clash — clashes
  • words ending in –ch:  lunch — lunches , watch — watches, punch — punches
  • words ending in –ss:   boss — bosses , kiss — kisses, business — businesses

Rule 2:  Change -y to -i and add -es

  • If a noun ends with a consonant plus a -y, then change the -y to an -i and add -es.
  • * Did you remember there are 21 consonant letters in the English written alphabet: b, c, d, f, g, h, j, k, l, m, n, p, q, r, s, t, v, w, x, y, z.]
  • For example:
  • blueberry — blueberries  [to be clear:  blueberry ends with an 'r' (a consonant) and a 'y']
  • party — parties
  • lady — ladies
  • candy — candies
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* Be sure to understand that you need a consonant plus a -y at the end of the word. You need both otherwise if the word ends in just a -y it will be regular. [e.g., boy — boys (not  boies)]

Rule 3:  Change nouns ending in -f or -fe to -ves

If a noun ends with either -f or -fe, change these letters to a -v and add -es.

Examples: 

  • elf — elves
  • self — selves
  • knife — knives
  • loaf  — loaves
  • wolf — wolves

*Note:  Unfortunately, there are a few exceptions to this rule. Sorry, you'll have to memorize them (see some examples below under irregular plural nouns).

Example:  roof — roofs (not  rooves)

The chart below can help you remember these few rules.

How to Make Words That End in Y Plural

Irregular Plural Nouns

How to Make Words That End in Y Plural

  1. Some nouns just don't follow any of the rules above when changing from singular to plural.
  2. I know, bummer.
  3. You'll have to memorize these or consult your good friend, Miss Dictionary, if you're unsure.

Nouns ending in -f that don't change to the -ves ending

For example:

  • belief
  • chief
  • brief
  • cliff
  • cuff
  • roof
  • proof
  • puff
  1. beliefs
  2. chiefs
  3. briefs
  4. cliffs
  5. cuffs
  6. roofs
  7. proofs
  8. puffs

Nouns that are the same in both singular and plural

  • deer
  • sheep
  • moose
  • series
  • scissors
  • bison
  1. deer
  2. sheep
  3. moose
  4. series
  5. scissors
  6. bison

Some nouns that end in -o add -es

Some nouns that end in -o add an -es. You'll have to check your dictionary to be sure of the spelling.

Examples:

  • tomato — tomatoes
  • potato — potatoes
  • hero — heroes

*Remember you normally just add an -s (e.g., euro — euros, video — videos)

Some nouns completely change their spelling

 Look carefully at these as sometimes there is only one letter that's different (e.g., man, men). The reason that some of these nouns completely change their spelling is that some of these words are borrowed from Latin or Greek.

Here are some examples:

  • man
  • woman
  • person
  • child
  • foot
  • tooth
  • mouse
  • louse
  • ox
  • cactus
  • syllabus
  • alumnus
  • stimulus
  • hypothesis
  • parenthesis
  • synopsis
  • thesis
  • appendix
  • axis
  • analysis
  • basis
  • crisis
  • diagnosis
  1. men
  2. women
  3. people
  4. children
  5. foot
  6. teeth
  7. mice
  8. lice
  9. oxen
  10. cacti
  11. syllabi
  12. alumni
  13. stimuli
  14. hypotheses
  15. parentheses
  16. synopses
  17. theses
  18. appendices
  19. axes
  20. analyses
  21. bases
  22. crises
  23. diagnoses

Some nouns have two plural forms

For some nouns, there are two different plural forms. For example:

  • fish
  • shrimp
  • quail
  • trout
  • mango
  • buffalo
  • mosquito
  • tornado
  • scarf
  • hoof
  1. fish or fishes
  2. shrimp or shrimps
  3. quail or quails
  4. trout or trouts
  5. mangos or mangoes
  6. buffalo or buffaloes
  7. mosquitos or mosquitoes
  8. tornado or tornadoes
  9. scarf or scarves
  10. hoof or hooves

Some nouns are always used in the plural

We use the following always in the plural form. Many of these things are a single item that has two connected parts. For example, clothing items that cover the bottom and have two parts for each leg (e.g. pants, shorts, pantyhose). Also, some tools that have two blades or parts are plural.

  • Clothes:  pants, trousers, jeans, leggings, shorts, tights, pantyhose, stockings, pajamas
  • For the eyes:  glasses, goggles, binoculars, sunglasses
  • tools:  scissors, tweezers, pliers, tongs
  • possessions / ownership:  riches, belongings, earnings, valuables
  • Note:  We often say a “pair of” : pair of jeans / a pair of pants / a pair of glasses / a pair of scissors
  • I need to buy a new pair of sunglasses.
  • I need to buy some sunglasses (not  I need to buy a sunglasses).

Final Note:  Possessives versus Plural Nouns

Finally, be careful not to confuse plural nouns with possessive nouns.

For example:

  • There are two trees in the yard. (two trees = plural of tree).
  • The oak tree's leaves are falling to the ground. (possessive: the leaves belonging to this tree are falling).
  • Both trees' branches are very long. (both trees possess long branches).

Remember that the possessive uses an apostrophe + -s after the noun. Plural nouns do not  use an apostrophe.

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Plurals of nouns ending in ‘Y’

Spelling rules can get very complicated in the English language. However, the spelling rule for nouns ending in y is fairly straightforward. We will examine that spelling rule, some examples of its application and find out what the one exception is to that rule.

If a noun ends in a y that is preceded by a vowel, the plural is formed by simply adding an s to the word. For example, the noun monkey ends in a y preceded by the vowel e, so the plural is formed by simply adding an s as in monkeys. Other examples of this spelling rule are valley and its plural form, valleys, play and its plural form plays and boy and its plural form, boys.

If a noun ends in a y that is preceded by a consonant, the plural is formed by changing the y to an i and adding es to the word.

For example, the noun baby ends in a y preceded by the consonant b, so the plural is formed by changing the y to an i and adding es, as in babies.

Other examples of this spelling rule are city and its plural form cities, activity and its plural form activities, and lady and its plural form ladies.

There is one exception to this rule. The plural of a proper noun that ends in y is always formed by simply adding an s, whether the y is preceded by a vowel or consonant. This is true of the names of people as well as brand names. Some examples of this are the names Kennedy and its plural form Kennedys, Amy and its plural form Amys, and Hello Kitty and its plural form Hello Kittys.

  • Examples
  • The mother of the two dead boys, 24-year-old Lamora Williams, has been charged with two counts of murder, Atlanta police said. (The Atlanta Journal Constitution)
  • The county and its 31 cities are all raising taxes, according to a Sun Sentinel analysis of their budget and tax notices, for an average increase of 10 percent. (The Sun-Sentinel)
  • The Kennedys are particularly proud to have sponsored the local soccer team for more than 30 years. (The Nenagh Guardian)

Plural Nouns: Rules and Examples

Most singular nouns are made plural by simply putting an -s at the end. There are many different rules regarding pluralization depending on what letter a noun ends in. Irregular nouns do not follow plural noun rules, so they must be memorized or looked up in the dictionary.

Plural Noun Rules

There are many plural noun rules, and because we use nouns so frequently when writing, it’s important to know all of them! The correct spelling of plurals usually depends on what letter the singular noun ends in.

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1
To make regular nouns plural, add ‑s to the end.

  • cat – cats
  • house – houses
  • 2
    If the singular noun ends in ‑s, -ss, -sh, -ch, -x, or -z, add ‑es to the end to make it plural.
  • truss – trusses
  • bus – buses
  • marsh – marshes
  • lunch – lunches
  • tax – taxes
  • blitz – blitzes
  • 3
    In some cases, singular nouns ending in -s or -z, require that you double the -s or -z prior to adding the -es for pluralization.
  • fez – fezzes
  • gas –gasses
  • 4
    If the noun ends with ‑f or ‑fe, the f is often changed to ‑ve before adding the -s to form the plural version.
  • wife – wives
  • wolf – wolves
  • Exceptions:
  • roof – roofs
  • belief – beliefs
  • chef – chefs
  • chief – chiefs
  • 5
    If a singular noun ends in ‑y and the letter before the -y is a consonant, change the ending to ‑ies to make the noun plural.
  • city – cities
  • puppy – puppies
  • 6
    If the singular noun ends in -y and the letter before the -y is a vowel, simply add an -s to make it plural.
  • ray – rays
  • boy – boys
  • 7
    If the singular noun ends in ‑o, add ‑es to make it plural.
  • potato – potatoes
  • tomato – tomatoes
  • Exceptions:
  • photo – photos
  • piano – pianos
  • halo – halos
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With the unique word volcano, you can apply the standard pluralization for words that end in -o or not. It’s your choice! Both of the following are correct:

  1. volcanoes
  2. volcanos
  3. 8 If the singular noun ends in ‑us, the plural ending is frequently ‑i.
  4. cactus – cacti
  5. focus – foci
  6. 9 If the singular noun ends in ‑is, the plural ending is ‑es.
  7. analysis – analyses
  8. ellipsis – ellipses
  9. 10
    If the singular noun ends in ‑on, the plural ending is ‑a.
  10. phenomenon – phenomena
  11. criterion – criteria
  12. 11
    Some nouns don’t change at all when they’re pluralized.
  13. sheep – sheep
  14. series – series
  15. species – species
  16. deer –deer
  17. You need to see these nouns in context to identify them as singular or plural. Consider the following sentence:

Mark caught one fish, but I caught three fish.

Plural Noun Rules for Irregular Nouns

  • Irregular nouns follow no specific rules, so it’s best to memorize these or look up the proper pluralization in the dictionary.
  • child – children
  • goose – geese
  • man – men
  • woman – women
  • tooth – teeth
  • foot – feet
  • mouse – mice
  • person – people

Plurals Of English Nouns | Lexico

Most nouns make their plurals by simply adding –s to the end (e.g. cat/cats, book/books, journey/journeys). Some do change their endings, though. The main types of noun that do this are:

Nouns ending in -y

If the noun ends with a consonant plus -y, make the plural by changing -y to -ies:

singular plural
berry berries
activity activities
daisy daisies

If the noun ends with -ch, -s, -sh, -x, or -z, add -es to form the plural:

singular plural
church churches
bus buses
fox foxes

There’s one exception to this rule. If the -ch ending is pronounced with a ‘k’ sound, you add -s rather than -es:

singular plural
stomach stomachs
epoch epochs

Nouns ending in -f or -fe

With nouns that end in a consonant or a single vowel plus -f or -fe, change the -f or -fe to -ves:

singular plural
knife knives
half halves
scarf scarves

Nouns which end in two vowels plus -f usually form plurals in the normal way, with just an -s

singular plural
chief chiefs
spoof spoofs

Nouns ending in -o

Nouns ending in -o can add either -s or -es in the plural, and some can be spelled either way.

  • As a general rule, most nouns ending in -o add -s to make the plural:
singular plural
solo solos
zero zeros
avocado avocados
  • Those which have a vowel before the final -o always just add -s:
singular plural
studio studios
zoo zoos
embryo embryos
  • Here’s a list of the most common nouns ending in -o that are always spelled with -es in the plural:
  • Here are some of the common nouns ending in -o that can be spelled with either -s or -es in the plural:

Plurals of foreign nouns

The plurals of words which have come into English from a foreign language such as Latin or Greek often have two possible spellings: the foreign plural spelling and an English one. For example, you can spell the plural of aquarium (from Latin) as either aquaria (the Latin plural) or aquariums (the English plural).

Words of Latin origin

Here’s a list of some words that came into English from Latin which can form their plurals in two ways:

Note that there are a few nouns which have come into English from Latin which should always form their plural in the Latin way. Most of these are scientific or technical terms. The most common ones are:

singular plural
alga algae
alumnus alumni
larva larvae

Remember too, that the plural form of octopus should always be octopuses and never octopi. This is because the word came into English from Greek, not Latin, and so the usual rules for Latin plurals don't apply.

Words of Greek origin

Nouns which end in -is usually come from Greek. Their plurals are made by changing the -is to -es:

singular plural
crisis crises
analysis analyses
neurosis neuroses

Words of French origin

Certain words which have come into English from French have two possible plural forms: the original French plural and an English one. These words end in the letters -eau, for example:

Words of Italian origin

Most words which have come into English from Italian form their plurals with an -s, as if they were English words. For example, the Italian plural of cappuccino is cappuccini, but when the word is used in English, its plural form is cappuccinos. Here are some more examples:

  • A notable exception to this is the word paparazzo, which keeps the Italian plural form paparazzi in English.
  • There's also a group of Italian words which have entered English in their plural forms – these are typically the names for various kinds of pasta. For example:
  • spaghetti; tagliatelle; tortellini; cannelloni; lasagne.
  • Although these words are already in their Italian plural forms, they can take an -s to form English plurals in certain contexts. For example:
  • They ordered three spaghettis and two cannellonis.
  • Here, the meaning is ‘a dish or serving of spaghetti’ rather than ‘a kind of pasta’.

Note that in British English, you should spell lasagne with an e at the end. In American English it's spelled with an -a at the end, i.e. lasagna (which is the Italian singular form, though this is rarely if ever used in Italian itself).

Words that have come into English from foreign languages are known as loanwords. Some of these loanwords have developed plural (or singular) forms in English that are regarded as grammatically incorrect because they go against the grammar of the original language.

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