You are on page 1of 5

NOUNS: SINGULAR AND PLURAL

Numbers, or the Singular Plural is an important sub topic of Nouns. It becomes important for ESL students to understand and learn this as it controls the form of the verb and the pronoun. The rules of forming plurals are important to learn as are the spellings.

Singular and Plural Nouns


The next topic that we need to study in Nouns is numbers, or what is more commonly understood as Singular and Plural. Before proceeding ahead let us answer the question why do we need to study numbers in nouns? The answer is two fold:

First, we could have a single item or more than one of the same in a sentence.

We need to adequately represent them. Example: We could have a single student studying; we could also have two or more students studying. We need to show that there is more than one student.

Second, the number of the subject (whether the subject is singular or plural) decides the

number of the verb. Example: The student (singular noun) studies (plural verb) Physics, The students (plural noun) study (singular subjects) physics. The rules for converting singular nouns to plural nouns are as follows:

By adding -s: This is the simplest and the most common method of converting a singular noun to its plural form.

Example: Singular Noun Plural Noun Boys Boys Chair Chairs Table Tables Computer Computers

A few nouns ending with o also convert to their plural form by simply adding s;

Example: Singular Noun Plural Noun Piano Pianos Commando Commandos

A few nouns ending with f or -fe also convert to their plural form by simply adding s;

Example: Singular Noun Plural Noun Chief Chiefs Cliff Cliffs

By adding -es to nouns ending with s, -sh, -ch, -x, -o;

Example: Singular Noun Plural Noun Dress Dresses Dish Dishes Branch Branches Tax Taxes Echo Echoes

For nouns ending with y preceded by a consonant change y to i and add es;

Example: Singular Noun Plural Noun Baby Babies Army Armies City Cities

Some nouns ending with f or fe, by changing f or fe to v and adding es;

Example: Singular Noun Plural Noun Thief Thieves

Wife Wives

Some nouns ending with f or fe, form their plural by either taking s or ves;

Example: Singular Noun Plural Noun Dwarf Dwarfs, Dwarves Hoof Hooves

Some nouns make their plurals by changing the vowel;

Example: Singular Noun Plural Noun Man Men Woman Women

Some nouns form their plurals by adding en to the singular noun;

Example: Singular Noun Plural Noun Ox Oxen Child Children Remember:

There are certain nouns which have the same form for Singular as well as Plural;

Example: Swine, Sheep

Certain nouns which are names of instruments having two parts are always used in their plural form;

Example: Spectacles, Scissors

Names of certain clothing items are always used in their plural form;

Example: Trousers, Jeans

Certain nouns like names of subjects, some common diseases and some games are always in the plural form;

Example: Physics, Measles, Billiards.

Certain Collective Nouns though singular in form are always used as plurals;

Example: Poultry, Cattle, People.

Certain nouns have two forms as their plurals, both with different meanings;

Example: Singular Noun Plural Noun Brother Brothers (from the same parents) Brethren (from the same community) Cloth Cloths (pieces of cloth) Clothes (garments)

Certain nouns have two meanings in the singular but one in plural;

Example: Singular Noun Plural Noun Light - beam Lights Lamps- a lamp People - men & women Peoples nations - nation Certain nouns have one meaning in the singular but two in plural; Example: Singular Noun Plural Noun Custom - habit Customs habits - duties levied in the form of taxes. Pain suffering Pains sufferings - efforts

Certain nouns have different meanings in the singular and the plural;

Example: Singular Noun Plural Noun Air atmosphere Airs manners Respect regard Respects compliments

Abstract nouns do not have plural forms, as they are uncountable;

Example: Patriotism, Love, Empathy A major advantage of studying the above rules is that it helps one to learn the spellings of plural nouns. Reference: http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/nouns.htm High School English Grammar and Composition Wren & Martin NEXT ARTICLE >

Read more: http://www.brighthub.com/education/languages/articles/19457.aspx#ixzz1CXAim Aab