Unit 2.2

Plural Noun formation


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Introduction

Nouns refer to a person, place, thing, event, substance or quality.

The plural form of a noun is used to indicate that there is more than one person, animal, place or thing.

Form

Plural nouns can be formed from singular forms by just adding a suffix.

We usually use the plural just with countable nouns (amount of the things that can be counted with numbers). Uncountable nouns do not follow the rules of plural formation.

The various cases of the formation of plurals are: regular and irregular.

Regular

The plural of the regular nouns is formed by just adding -s to the singular forms.

Singular Plural
car  cars
classmate  classmates
table  tables
teacher  teachers
student  students

Exceptions

The plural of the nouns can be formed differently, depending on the suffix of the singular form. The various cases of the formation of the plural, grouped according to their suffix, are:

  • nouns with suffix -ch, -s, -sh, -x or -z: add -es:
Singular Plural
-ch witch witches
-s boss bosses
-sh bush bushes
-x box boxes
-z quiz quizes 
  • nouns with suffix -y: change -y- to -i- and add -es;
Singular Plural
baby babies
city cities
daisy daisies
  • nouns with suffix -fe or -f: change -f(e) to -v and add (e)s;
Singular Plural
life lives
wife wives
wolf wolves

Example

Regular:

  • There are two cars in the backyard. 
  • My boyfriend and I are classmates.
  • The teachers of this school are very nice. 
  • Peter and Eva are students.

Exceptions:

  • Witches are not always scary.
  • I like these bushes in spring.
  • We have 10 boxes to unpack. 
  • The babies are sleeping upstairs. 
  • I love visiting new cities.
  • He is a fireman, he saves human lives
  • There are several wolves at the zoo.

Use

We use plural nouns when there are two or more things.

Summary

The plural of the nouns can be formed differently, depending on the suffix of singular nouns. In most cases, we only have to add an -s to the end.

For example:
— “One cup.” ⇒ “Three cups.” = We add -s at the end of the noun.

However, there are some exceptions about plural formation, depending on the suffix of nouns.

For example:
— With suffixes -ch-s, -sh, -x or -z, we add -es to the noun: “One fox.” ⇒ “Two foxes.”.
— With suffix -y, we change -y to -i and add -es: “One lady.” ⇒ “Two ladies.”.
— With suffixes -fe or -f, we change -f- to -v- and add -es (in some cases we just add an -s): “One life.” ⇒ “Two lives.”.

Let’s revise this content within the {Form} section. Take a look at the {Example} section that shows its use within a context.

Exercises

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