This article details the spelling rules for turning singular nouns in plural nouns.
Note, for a look at the general principles of singular and plural nouns, see Singular and Plural Nouns.
Most nouns in English are regular. To make them plural we simply add -s to the end:
|1 book||2 books|
|1 car||4 cars|
|1 house||8 houses|
In some cases, however, we need to do more when and we change the spelling.
- If a noun ends in –ch, –sh, –s, or –x we usually add -es to the end to make it plural:
|1 church||2 churches|
|1 crash||2 crashes|
|1 bus||2 buses|
|1 box||2 boxes|
The reason is pretty simple, trying to say these words without the /e/ sound and you’ll see what happens!
- If a noun ends in a consonant and -y then we take off the -y and add -ies to the end:
|1 baby||2 babies|
|1 curry||2 curries|
|1 spy||2 spies|
- Most nouns which end in -f or -fe change the ending to –ves.
|1 elf||2 elves|
|1 loaf||2 loaves|
|1 roof||2 rooves|
Note that with this last one, most people say roofs with an /f/ sound, but write rooves with a /v/ sound.
- If the noun ends in –o then we usually add an –s to the end as with most regular nouns.
|1 piano||2 pianos|
|1 video||2 videos|
- But a few nouns which end in –o add an –es to the end:
|1 hero||2 heroes|
|1 potato||2 potatoes|