How to Make Plural Forms in English?

If you’re learning English, you’ve probably encountered some confusion when it comes to forming plurals. Even native English speakers sometimes struggle with plural forms, especially when it comes to words borrowed from other languages or words that don’t follow the usual rules. In this post, we’ll cover the basics of forming plurals in English and some tips to help you remember the rules. Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced English learner, mastering plurals is an essential part of improving your language skills. So let’s dive in!

The general rule to form plurals in English is adding -s to a singular noun. One jar becomes two jars in the plural form.

Forming plurals in English

There are multiple ways to form plurals of singular nouns and the general rule (adding-s to a singular noun) is the most common, but there are several exceptions to that rule.

The general rule to form plurals

The general rule to make plural forms of singular nouns is adding -s to a singular noun. Take a look at the examples below.

  • one apple – two apples
  • one table – two tables
  • one key – two keys
  • one door – two doors

Exceptions to the general rule

The general rule is used in many cases and will get you quite far, but there are many exceptions as well. Take a look at the exceptions below.

Noun ending in sibilant

You add -es when a singular noun ends in -s, -ss, -sh, -ch, -x, or -s.

  • one wish – two wishes
  • one bus – two buses

In some cases, you need to double -s or -z before adding -es.

  • one gas – two gasses

Noun ending in -f or -fe

When a singular noun ends in -f or -fe, you usually change -f or -fe into -ve before adding -s.

  • one wive – two wives
  • one leaf – two leaves

Noun ending in -y

When a singular noun ends in -y and the letter right before -y is a consonant, -y changes into -ies in the plural form. When the final letter before -y is a vowel, you follow the general rule by adding -s to the noun.

  • one baby – two babies
  • one buggy – two buggies
  • one boy – two boys

Noun ending in -o

In most cases, you add -es to the singular noun when it ends in -o.

  • one tomato – two tomatoes
  • one potato – two potatoes

There are some exceptions:

  • one piano – two pianos
  • one photo – two photos

Noun ending in -us

When a singular noun ends in -us, the plural form usually ends in -i.

  • one cactus – two cacti

Noun ending in -on

When a singular noun ends in -on, the plural form ends in -a.

  • one phenomenon – two phenomena

Noun ending in -is

When a singular noun ends in -is, the plural form ends in -es.

  • one analysis – two analyses

Irregular plurals

There are many irregular plurals in English and these nouns don’t follow the rules listed above. If you want to use irregular plurals, you need to study them because you can’t form them by following certain rules. Some examples of irregular plurals are:

  • a man – men
  • a woman – women

Click here for a complete overview of the irregular plural nouns in English.

Plural Forms in English: Overview

regular nounssingular noun + sone car – two cars
ending in -s, -ss, -sh, -ch, -x, -zsingular noun + es
(sometimes ss/zz+ es)
one cache – two caches
ending in -f or -fesingular noun – f + ve + sone life – two lives
ending in a consonant + -ysingular noun – y + iesone baby – two babies
ending in -osingular noun + es (in most cases)one potato – two potatoes
ending in -ussingular noun – us + i (in most cases)one cactus – two cacti
ending in -onsingular noun – on + aone phenomenon – two phenomena
ending in -issingular noun – is + esone analysis – two analyses
irregular nounsirregularone man – two men


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