In this lesson, we will discuss the singular and plural forms of nouns. Singular means single or one, and plural means more than one. Primarily we all keep in mind that nouns of names, things and places can be singular or plural.
When we talk about a person or just one thing, it is called a singular noun. If a singular noun is used in a sentence, it is preceded by ‘a’ or ‘an’. If the noun word starts with a consonant then ‘a’ and when the noun word starts with a vowel then ‘an’ is used.
a boy; a taxi; a park; a house; a doctor; a man; a river; an umbrella; an oven; an idea; an exercise; an airplane; an insect.
When we talk about more than one person, more than one thing, or more than one place, then that is called a Plural Noun.
Rules for plural nouns:
1. – Most common nouns are made plural by adding ‘s’ at the end of the singular form. For example:
- A boy is playing on the field.
- Boys are playing in the field.
- This is a book.
- Plural: I have many books.
- A bird is flying in the sky.
- Birds are flying in the sky.
2. – Nouns ending in s, ss, ch, sh, x and z are made plural by adding ‘es’ at the end of all nouns. For example:
- There is a bus on the road.
- There are buses on the road.
- This dress is really good.
- He does not like those dresses.
- Our teacher is in the class.
- Classes will be closed at four p.m.
- Keep this pen and pencil in a box.
- These boxes are used for keeping pencils.
Exception: Monarch — monarchs.
- Once he was a monarch.
- Once this territory was ruled by monarchs.
3. – Nouns ending in ‘-y’, and if the letter before the -y’ is a vowel, then add an ‘s’ after the last ‘y’ of the noun to make it plural. (vowel + y, add ‘s’) For example:
- A monkey is sitting on the table.
- Monkeys are very clever.
- This is a beautiful toy.
- Every child loves toys.
- I have lost my car key.
- Put the keys on the table.
4. – Nouns ending in ‘-y’, and if there is a consonant before the ‘-y’, then delete ‘y’ and write ‘ies’ in place of deleted ‘y’ to make the noun plural. (consonant + y, add ‘es’). For example:
- Mrs. Vanessa has a baby.
- Babies need constant care and support.
- This is a beautiful story.
- These stories are written by a story writer.
- Everybody will admire the beauty of this place.
- I am here to enjoy the natural beauties of this place.
5 – If a Noun ends with ‘-f’ or ‘-ff’, and the letter before the ‘-f’ or ‘-ff’ is a vowel, simply add ‘s’ to make the word plural. For example:
- He is the chief of this company.
- Once they were the chiefs of this society.
- He blew out the lamp in one puff.
- My mother sent me some powder puffs.
- To build a roof on the building will cost you lots of money.
- The roofs of the buildings have been damaged.
Exception: But the plural of ‘leaf’ is ‘leaves’, and the plural of ‘thief’ is ‘thieves’.
6.- If a noun ends with the word -f, and the letter before that -f is consonant, then the last -f of that noun has to be replaced by -v, and then add ‘es’ to make it plural. For example:
- Look at that little calf in the field.
- Look at those calves in the field.
- Cut this cake in half.
- Cut this cake in halves.
7. – If a noun ends with the word -fe, then first replace -f with ‘v’ and then write ‘e’ and then add ‘s’ to make it plural. For example:
- This is a knife for cutting vegetables.
- These are the knives for cutting vegetables.
- He could not do anything remarkable in his life.
- The soldiers sacrificed their lives for their country.
- My wife brings me a gift for my birthday.
- Their wives are busy teaching their kids.
8. – If noun words end in ‘-o’, and if there is a vowel before ‘-o’, just add ‘s’ to make it plural. (vowel + ‘o’, add ‘s’) For example:
- My teacher made a video on teaching English.
- Videos on teaching English are helpful for English learners.
- I used to listen to the radio program when I was a child.
- Radios are used to send messages from here to there.
- My father brought me a piano.
- They have different types of pianos.
9. – If noun words end in ‘-o’, and if there is a consonant before ‘-o’, just add ‘es’ to make it plural. (consonant + ‘o’, add ‘es’ For example:
- There is a mango on the table.
- These mangoes are very tasty.
- Will you give me a potato?
- Potatoes are healthy vegetables.
10. – Some Singular Noun words are changed to make it Plural by changing their spelling. These are called irregular plurals. For example:
11. – Singular and Plural of some Noun words are the same. This means that these nouns are used with Singular Verb if Singular, and Plural Verb if Plural. There is no change in the form of these nouns. For example:
- Deer: Have seen a deer in the zoo? There are different kinds of deer in the zoo.
- Salmon: Will please give me a salmon? The fisherman gave me some salmon.
- Fish: Hilsha is a tasty fish. The fisherman caught a lot of fish. [However, if there are different types of fish, then we can use the plural form of ‘fish’ as ‘fishes’ only to mean different types of fish. For example: The fisherman has caught various fishes in the Padma river.
12. – Some nouns are plural all the time, they have no singular form. For example:
boots, clothes, gloves, glasses, goggles, jeans, pants, pajamas, spectacles, shorts, scissors, shoes, sandals, slippers, socks, trousers, etc.
13. – Some noun words look singular, but they are used as plural all the time. For example:
cattle, people, public, peasantry, police, dozen, poultry, gentry, mankind, etc.