How to make Plurals of Nouns

1. Regular Plural Forms

Most nouns make their plurals by simply adding –s to the end (e.g. cat/cats). Some do change their endings, though as you will see below.

1.1. How to form the plural

We form the plural by adding s to the singular of the noun.

a boytwo boys
a cartwo cars
a housetwo houses
a horsetwo horses
a booktwo books

1.2. Nouns ending in sibilants

If the noun ends with -ch, -s, -sh, -x, or -z, add -es to form the plural or just s if the noun ends in one -e.

a boxtwo boxes
a churchtwo churches
a suitcasetwo suitcases
a rosetwo roses
a foxtwo foxes

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

a stomachtwo stomachs
an epochtwo epochs

1.3. Nouns ending in -y

1.3.1. y after consonant

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

an activitytwo activities
a berrytwo berries
a citytwo cities
a daisytwo daisies

1.3.2. y after vowel

If the noun ends with a vowel plus -y, make the plural by just adding -s:

a boytwo boys
a daytwo days
a quaytwo quays
a traytwo trays

1.4. Nouns ending in -f or -fe

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

a rooftwo roofs
a chieftwo chiefs
a spooftwo spoofs

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

a knifetwo knives
a wifetwo wives
a thieftwo thieves

Both forms are possible with the following nouns:

  • scarf → scarfs/scarves
  • hoof → hoofs/hooves

Add -s for words ending in -ff.

  • cliff → cliffs
  • sheriff → sheriffs

1.5. 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:

1.5.1. Add -s

a discotwo discos
a pianotwo pianos
a phototwo photos

1.5.2. Here are some examples of nouns ending in -o that are always spelled with -es in the plural:

a tomatotwo tomatoes
an echotwo echoes
a potatotwo potatoes
a torpedotwo torpedoes
a herotwo heroes

Both forms are possible with the following nouns:

  • banjo → banjos/banjoes
  • ghettos → ghettos/ghettoes
  • mosquito → mosquitos/mosquitoes
  • tornado → tornados/tornadoes
  • volcano → volcanos /volcanoes

2. Irregular Plural Forms

a mantwo men
a womantwo women
a childtwo children
a mousetwo mice
a toothtwo teeth
a goosetwo geese
a foottwo feet
an oxtwo oxen