Home » Intermediate English Grammar » Plurals


Most English plurals are formed quite simply. Just add -s to the end of a noun:

  • dog → dogs
  • building → buildings

However, if the noun ends in -s-ss-z-x-ch, or -sh, add -es to form the plural:

  • boss → bosses
  • box → boxes
  • witch → witches
  • dish → dishes

If the noun ends in a consonant plus -y, change the -y to -i, then
add -es:

  • lady → ladies
  • penny → pennies

Words that end in -o are a special problem. Some form their plural by adding -s, and others form their plural by adding -es. Look at these examples:

SingularPlural + -sSingularPlural + -es

Consult a dictionary to know precisely which plural ending to use with words that end in -o.

There are a few words that form the plural with an -s ending but also require a consonant change in which f changes to v:

  • knife → knives
  • leaf → leaves
  • shelf → shelves
  • wife → wives
  • wolf → wolves

Certain other nouns form their plural in completely irregular ways. Fortunately, the list is quite brief:

  • child → children
  • mouse → mice
  • foot → feet
  • person → people (or persons)
  • goose → geese
  • deer → deer [no change!]
  • man → men
  • woman → women
  • tooth → teeth
  • ox → oxen

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