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Basic rules for forming plurals

Plurals are regularly formed by adding an s to the singular form.

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suburb/suburbs
flight/flights
patient/patients
doctor/doctors
x-ray/x-rays

When the singular form ends in an s, x, ch, sh or z, the plural is formed by adding es to the singular.

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tax/taxes
virus/viruses
lunch/lunches
wish/wishes
quartz/quartzes

BUT: quiz/quizzes

Singular nouns ending in silent s do not change their form in the plural form. However, the s ending is pronounced (not silent) when the plural form is used.

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one corps (pronunciation: core)
two corps (pronunciation: corps)

a rendevouz (pronunciation: ron-day-voo)
many rendevouz (pronunciation: ron-day-voos)

When the singular noun is preceded by a consonant, the plural is formed by changing the y to an i and adding es.

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copy / copies
family / families
policy / policies
proxy / proxies

When a singular noun ending in y is preceded by a vowel, the plural is formed by adding s to the singular form.

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delay / delays
attorney / attorneys
pray / prays
boy / boys
guy / guys

BUT: soliloquy / soliloquies
colloquy / colloquies

NOTE: The regular plural of money is moneys. the plural form monies does not follow the rule but often appears in legal documents.

For singular nouns ending in o that are preceded by a vowel, form the plural by adding s to the singular form.

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stereo / stereos
shampoo / shampoos
tattoo / tattoos
scenario / scenarios

For singular nouns ending in o that are preceded by a consonant, there are variable ways of forming the plural. Some add s and some add es. Consult a dictionary for confirmation.

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euro / euros
ego / egos
zero / zeros
logo / logos
typo / typos
weirdo / weirdos
hairdo / hairdoes

potato / potatoes
tomato / tomatoes
echo / echoes
fiasco / fiascoes

To confuse things further, some of these have two plural forms. Either is correct, but the first shown in the example below is the preferred plural form.

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cargo / cargos or cargoes
proviso / provisos or provisoes
zero / zeros or zeroes
tuxedo / tuxedos or tuxedoes
innuendo / innuendos or innuendoes

To form a plural for singular musical terms ending in o, add an s.

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soprano / sopranos
alto / altos
piano / pianos
cello / cellos

Most singular nouns that end in f, fe or ff are formed into a plural by adding an s to the singular form.

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belief /beliefs
safe / safes
bailiff / bailiffs

Some commonly used nouns in this category form a plural by changing the f or fe to ve and adding an s.

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half / halves
wife / wives
leaf / leaves
thief / thieves
self / selves
knife / knives
life / lives

Some of these nouns have two plural forms. Either is correct, but the first is preferred so as not to cause confusion with verbs that have the same spelling.

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scarf / scarves or scarfs
dwarf / dwarfs or dwarves

 


Contributors to this page: admin .
Page last modified on Tuesday 13 of September, 2011 17:02:15 UTC by admin.
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