What Do we Mean by Singular and Plural Nouns?
Nouns can be categorized into two groups based on whether they refer to a single entity or multiple entities:
- Singular nouns
- Plural nouns
Singular nouns are nouns that refer to
In English, singular nouns can be modified by articles like "a" or "an", depending on their initial letter.
Furthermore, singular nouns take singular verb forms. Pay attention to some examples:
I love reading
'Book' is a singular nouns and it is modified by the article 'a'.
'Tree' is a singular noun and it takes a singular verb form
Plural nouns are used when referring to more than one entity of something in English, and there are rules for pluralizing nouns. The most basic rule is to add "s" to the end of a singular noun. However, there are both regular and irregular plural nouns.
Plural Noun Rules for Regular Nouns
In English, making a noun plural usually involves adding "-s" or "-es" to the end of the word.
- Regular nouns can be made plural by adding "-s" to the end of the word.
bird → bird
- For singular nouns that end in "-s," "-ss," "-sh," "-ch," "-x," or "-z," add "-es" to the end of the word to make it plural.
bus → bus
- For singular nouns that end in "-f" or "-fe," change the "-f" to "-v" and add "-es" to the end of the word to make it plural.
knife → kniv
These are regular nouns too, but these kinds of nouns has a change in their dictations.
- If a singular noun ends in ‑y and the letter before the -y is a consonant, change the ending to ‑ies to make the noun plural.
baby → bab
- If the singular noun ends in -y and the letter before the -y is a vowel, simply add an -s to make it plural.
boy → boy
- If the singular noun ends in ‑o, add ‑es to make it plural.
tomato → tomato
- Not all nouns that end in -o take -es at the end to become plural nouns.
radio → radio
- For singular nouns ending in "-s" or "-z," double the last letter before adding "-es" to make it plural.
gas → gass
Plural Noun Rules for Irregular Nouns
English has borrowed many words from other languages, such as Latin, Roman, and Germanic languages, and the pluralization rules for these words are often
- If the singular noun ends in ‑us, the plural ending is frequently ‑i.
cactus → cact
You can also say 'cactuses' in modern English language.
- If the singular noun ends in ‑is, the plural ending is ‑es.
analysis → analys
- If the singular noun ends in ‑on, the plural ending is ‑a.
phenomenon → phenomen
Plural Noun: Shapeshifters
There are some nouns that do not follow any specific pluralization rules, and the only way to learn their plural forms is to memorize them or look them up in a dictionary.
Remember that 'people' is countable and we should say 'people are...' not 'people is...'
The best way to learn them is to check your dictionaries and memorize them.
Plural Noun: Unchanged
There are some plurals that can be confusing because they have the same form as their singular counterparts.
There is one
The word 'fishes' is also used here, but it's not very common.
There is one
The plural of 'sheep' is always 'sheep'. 'Sheep', however is not a collective noun; when speaking of more than one sheep, it is simply plural.
There is one
Nouns That Only Have Plural Forms
Certain nouns only exist in their plural form and do not have a singular form (i.e., they always end in "-s" or "-es"). One type of such nouns are those that come in pairs or consist of two parts. Here are some examples:
If you want to say you have one of these things, you may use the phrase 'a pair of', 'a set of' etc.
It means there are enough shoes for both feet.
This pair of headphones is amazing.
There are some other nouns that are not a pair but are always in plural form:
Plural Nouns used Only in Singular Form
There are nouns that even though they look like a plural nouns but are treated as singular, these include:
- Academic subjects and classes like: Mathematics, Physics, Economics, Aerobics
- Diseases like: Measles, Mumps
- The word: News
Collective nouns are words that refer to a group of people, animals, or things. Depending on whether the collective noun is considered singular or plural, it can take either a singular or plural verb. Some of the common collective nouns include the following:
when the members of the group act as individuals.
when the members of the group are acting together as a unit.
When using singular nouns, it is important to use singular verbs. Using plural verbs with singular nouns, or vice versa, would be grammatically
football in the yard.')
in the bowl.')
Definite article 'the'
The definite article (the) can be used before both singular and plural nouns.
Demonstrative Determiners Agreement
It is important to use singular demonstrative determiners with singular nouns. Using plural demonstratives with singular nouns, or vice versa, would be considered
books were put on the shelves.')
small dog was barking all night.')
English learners can sometimes become confused by the use of possessive determiners with nouns, unsure of whether to use singular or plural nouns. However, it is important to note that possessive determiners do not always agree with the nouns they are modifying. It is grammatically acceptable to use plural nouns with singular possessive determiners, or vice versa.
Based on the number of the nouns we have two kinds of nouns.
Singular nouns refer to only one person, thing, place, animal, etc.
Plural nouns refer to two or more people, things, places, animals, etc.
|the whole word changes / eg., foot → feet
|fish → fish
nouns starting with a
nouns starting with a