English Grammar Review
Nouns and Pronouns

Spelling Plurals

Nouns are words that name or "stand for" something we are talking about. There are two types of nouns: concrete and abstract.

Concrete nouns identify things you witness with your senses (see, hear, touch, taste, smell):

person: Omar

place: Marrakesh

thing: tea

Abstract nouns identify things you comprehend with your mind:

feeling: satisfaction

state: freedom

emotion: happiness

quality: patience

concept: opportunity

idea: knowledge

event: venture

Unlike pronouns, nouns can be modified (made more specific) by adjectives or articles:

Young Omar drank mint tea in beautiful Marrakesh.

The freedom to use the opportunity led to a new venture.

Plural nouns

Question: How do we spell the plurals of nouns?

Answer: Please have a seat, this is going to take a while. Sorry.

Rule 1.0: Place the letter s at the end of the noun.

one manager, two managers

one decision, two decisions

Rule 2.0: Place the letters es after nouns that end in s, x, z, ss, sh, and ch.

one virus, two viruses

one fax, two faxes

one quartz, two quartzes

one business, two businesses

one wish, two wishes

one arch, two arches

Rule 2.1: Several singular nouns that end in z are made plural by doubling the z and then adding es.

one quiz, two quizzes

Rule 2.2: When a singular noun ends in ch and it is pronounced like a k, only add an s.

one epoch, two epochs

Rule 3.0: Nouns that end in y are a bit complicated.

Rule 3.1: Nouns that end in y preceded by a vowel are made plural by adding s.

one delay, two delays

Rule 3.2: Nouns that end in y preceded by a consonant are made plural by changing the y to an i and adding es.

one policy, two policies

Rule 4.0: Nouns that end in f or fe or ff are somewhat complicated.

Rule 4.1: Most simply use s.

one belief, two beliefs
[proof, safe, staff]

Rule 4.2: Some replace the f or the fe with ve and add an s.

one half, two halves
[life, self]

Rule 4.3: A few have two plural forms.

one scarf, two scarves, two scarfs
[hoof, wharf]

Rule 5.0: Nouns that end in o are very complicated.

Rule 5.1: Nouns that end in o preceded by a vowel are made plural by adding s.

one ratio, two ratios
[duo, portfolio, scenario, stereo]

Rule 5.2: Nouns that end in o preceded by a consonant are all over the place.

Rule 5.2.1: Some are made plural by adding s.

one photo, two photos
[ego, logo, macro, typo]

Rule 5.2.2: Some are made plural by adding es.

one potato, two potatoes
[echo, fiasco, hero, tomato]

Rule 5.2.3: Musical terms only add an s.

one tempo, two tempos
[alto, banjo, cello, piano]

Rule 5.2.4: Some have two plural forms.

one motto, two mottos, two mottoes
[cargo, innuendo, proviso, zero]

Rule 5.x: Never guess. If it ends in o, look it up.

Rule 6.0: Some nouns change their spelling to form a plural.

Rule 6.1: Change internal spelling.

one foot, two feet

one woman, two women

one mouse, two mice

Rule 6.2: Change is to es.

one basis, two bases
[oasis, thesis]

Rule 6.3: Add en, and sometimes an r.

one child, two children
[ox]

Rule 7.0: Some nouns don't change at all when they form a plural.

one sheep, two sheep
[fish, aircraft]

Lesson: Spelling Plurals
Module: Nouns and Pronouns
Course: English Grammar Review