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Plural Nouns

The usual construction of plural nouns from singular nouns is to add –s or –es to the end of a word.

SingularPlural
birdbirds
dogdogs
catcats
glassglasses
househouses
kindnesskindnesses (add –es to words that end in –s.)

How do you know when to add –s or –es? If a noun ends in any ending but an –s or –ss, add –es to the end of that word to form the plural. Also, If a word ends in ch, sh, x, or z, add –es to the end of the noun:

SingularPlural
lunchlunches (add -es)
countesscountesses (add -es)
lenslenses (add -es)
fishfishes (add -es)
foxfoxes (add -es)
buzzbuzzes (add -es)

If a word ends in –y, change the to and then add –es to create the plural, as shown below.

SingularPlural
babybabies
skyskies
librarylibraries

Please note the irregular plural nouns, shown in the following table.

Singular irregular nounsPlural irregular nouns
childchildren
footfeet
goosegeese
manmen
moosemoose
mousemice
oxoxen
womanwomen

Hyphenated nouns are pluralized by adding –s to the noun. In the examples below, law is also a noun. If a word is most likely to be multiplied, it takes the plural; thus, it is not that there is one mother and many laws, but many mothers.

Singular irregular nounsPlural irregular nouns
mother-in-lawmothers-in-law
father-in-lawfathers-in-law
sister-in-lawsisters-in-law
brother-in-lawbrothers-in-law

For words that are derived from foreign languages, watch the singular and plural for proper use. If a Latin word, for instance, ends in –um, it will change to –a; a word ending in –us will change to –i.

Singular Latin wordPlural Latin word
alumnaalumnae (female)
alumnusalumni (male) (gender neutral, informal: alum)
datumdata
erratumerrata
mediummedia
memorandummemoranda or memorandums
phenomenonphenomena
stimulusstimuli

Exceptions exist, of course. Consult a dictionary for the proper use of singular and plural Latin-derived nouns.

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