Another part of the series on Nouns. This is all about spelling nouns correctly. This is good to use in class and at home for yourself. Comes with 2 exercises and exercises that can be downloaded also.
Most places and teachers will tell
you that there are just a few rules
for spelling nouns.
Well, wait and see.
Spelling Rules -- Making Noun Plurals
Rule 1: To form the plural of most English words that don't
end in -s,-z, -x, -sh, -ch, or -ss, add an -s to make a plural of
1. star --- stars
2. pencil --- pencils
3. book --- books
4. slab --- slabs
5. step --- steps
6. pad --- pads
7. bra --- bras
8. stem --- stems
Rule 2: To form the plural of most English words that end
in -s, -z, -x, -ch, -sh, and -ss add an -es to the word.
1. bus --- buses
2. buzz --- buzzes
3. box --- boxes
4. match --- matches
5. church --- churches
6. kiss --- kisses
Some Exceptions to Rule 2: Note that the -z is doubled
1. quiz -- quizzes 2. fizz -- fizzes 3. whiz -- whizzes
Rule 3: To from a plural of most English words that end in
a vowel plus -y add an -s to the word
1. day - days 2. pulley - pulleys 3. boy - boys 4. buy - buys
Rule 4: Singular nouns ending in silent "s" do not change
their forms in the plural. However, the "s" ending is
pronounced when the plural from is used. See below.
1. one corps - two corps 2. one rendezvous -- two rendezvous
Rule 5: To form a plural of most English words that end in a
consonant plus a -y, change the y to an i and add an -es.
1. theory -- theories
2. lily -- lilies
3. empty -- empties
4. lady -- ladies
5. candy -- candies
6. penny -- pennies
Rule 6: For words that end in -is. change the -is to -es to
make the plural
1. thesis -- theses 2. oasis -- oases 3. analysis -- analyses
Rule 7: Some words that end in -f or -fe have plurals
that end in -ves.
1. elf - elves 2. calf - calves 3. shelf - shelves 4. wife - wives
Some exceptions to rule 7 of words that end in -f that don't
follow the rule.
1. oaf - oafs 2. chef - chefs 3. cliff - cliffs 4. belief - beliefs
1. tariff - tariffs 2. bailiff - bailiffs 3. roof - roofs 4. chief - chiefs
Rule 8: Many words that have come into English from other
languages follow their original methods of constructing plurals
1.alumnus - alumni
2. analysis - analyses
3. cherub - cherubim
4. diagnosis - diagnoses
5. focus - focuses of foci
6. fungus - fungi or funguses
7. index - indexes or indices
8. radius - radii
Rule 9: The plurals of words ending in -o can be formed by
adding either -s or -es. Many words can be formed either
way. You need to check a dictionary. Three helpful rules with
a table can help.
Rule 9A: All words that end in a vowel plus an -o (-ao, -eo, -io, -
oo, -uo) have plurals that ends in just -s.
1. studio --- studios
2. duo --- duos
3. trio --- trios
4. stereo --- stereos
5. tattoo --- tattoos
Rule 9B: All musical terms ending in -o have plurals in just -s.
1. piano --- pianos
2. cello --- cellos
3. solo --- solos
4. banjo --- banjos
5. alto --- altos
6. soprano --- sopranos
Rule 9C: Some plural forms ending in -o end in -os or -oes.
Some may use either. See Table below.
Only -os Only -oes Either -os or -oes
Rule 10: The plurals of single capital letters, acronyms and
Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3,) take an 's' without an apostrophe:
Z (the capital letter Z) --- Zs
POS (Point Of Sale) --- POSs
ATM (Automatic Teller Machine) --- ATMs
7 (the Arabic numeral 7) --- 7s
Rule 11: Of course you cannot make a plural of an uncountable
noun. Some examples are:
Rule 12: Some nouns by a quirk of fate exist only in the
plural. Some examples are:
Rule 13: Some nouns by a quirk of fate exist only in pairs.
Some examples are:
a pair of scissors
a pair of pants
Rule 14: Some nouns by a quirk of fate are the same for
singular and plural. Some examples are:
Rule 15: Some nouns by a quirk of fate appear as singular and
plural but are actually separate words. Some examples are:
due - dues
pant - pants
spectacle - spectacles
Rule 16: Some nouns exist both as pairs and without pairs.
Some examples are:
glasses (eye glasses) - pair of glasses
spectacles (eye glasses) - pair of spectacles
Question: Some people refer to their children as a pair of
If twins are two people is a pair of twins four people?
And those with two pairs of twins 8 people?
Rule 17: The plurals of some nouns are formed by the change
of letters within.
woman -- women
man -- men
foot -- feet
tooth -- teeth
goose -- geese
mouse -- mice
Rule 18: A few plurals of some words end in en or ren.
ox -- oxen
child -- children
Rule 19: When a compound noun is a solid word, pluralize the final
element in the compound as if it stood alone. See Table below.
printout -- printouts
hatbox -- hatboxes
eyelash -- eyelashes
standby -- standbys
birthday -- birthdays
foothold -- footholds
forefoot -- forefeet
workman -- workmen
Rule 20: The plurals of hyphenated or spaced compounds are
formed by pluralizing the chief element of the compound. See
father-in-law -- fathers-
looker-on -- lookers-on
runner-up -- runners-up
grant-in-aid -- grants-in-
bill of lading -- bills of
editor in chief -- editors
rule of thumb -- rules of
letter of credit -- letters
leave of absence--
leaves of absence
attorney at law --
attorneys of law
deputy chief of staff --
deputy chiefs of staff
BUT - time-out -- time-
BUT - chaise lounge--
Rule 21: When the hyphenated compound does not contain a
noun as one of its elements, simply pluralize the final
element. See below.
hang-up -- hang-ups
tie-in -- tie-ins
fade-out -- fade-outs
come-on -- come-ons
show-off -- show-offs
shoo-in -- shoo-ins
has-been -- has-beens
have-not -- have-nots
know-it-all -- know-it-alls
so-and-so -- so-and-sos
no-see-um -- no-see-ums
Rule 22: Some compound have two recognized plural forms.
The first plural forms shown below is preferred because it adds
the plural sign to the chief element of the compound. See
court-martial -- courts-martial -- court-martials
notary-public -- notaries-public -- notary-publics
attorney general -- attorneys general -- attorney generals
Rule 23: When the first element of a compound is a
possessive, simply pluralize the final element. See below.
collector's item -- collector's items
traveler's check -- traveler's checks
rabbit's foot -- rabbit's feet
proofreaders' mark -- proofreaders' mark s
rogues' gallery -- rogues' galleries
witches' brew -- witches' brews
finder's fee -- finder's fees
visitor's permit -- visitor's permits
Rule 24: From the plural of most abbreviations by adding "s"
to the singular. See below.
bldg. -- bldgs.
vol. -- vols.
par. - pars.
No. -- Nos.
Dr. -- Drs.
Bro. -- Bros
Rule 25: The abbreviations of many customary units of weights
and measure, however, are the same in both the singular and
plural. See below.
oz -- ounce or
deg -- degree or
bbl -- barrel or
ft -- foot or feet
in -- inch or inches
mi -- mile or miles
km -- kilometer or
ml -- milliliter or milliliters
cg -- centigram or
kg -- kilogram or kilograms
kl -- kiloliter or kiloliters
kW -- kilowatt or kilowatts
kt -- knot or knots
pt -- pint or pints
qt -- quarts or quarts
tsp -- teaspoon or
yd -- yard or yards
tbsp -- tablespoon or
Rule 26: The plurals of a few single-letter abbreviations (such
as p. for page and f. for the following page) consist of the
single letter doubled. See below.
p. 64 page 64
pp. 64-72 -- pages 64 through 72
pp. 291 f. -- page 291 and following page
pp. 291 ff. -- page 291 and following pages
l. 23 -- line 23
ll. 23-24 -- lines 23 through 24
n. 3 -- note 3
nn. 3-4 -- notes 3 and 4
Rule 27: Capital letters and abbreviations ending with capital
letters are pluralized by adding "s" alone. See below.
Rule 28: For the sake of clarity, uncapitalized letters and
uncapitalized abbreviations are pluralized by adding an
apostrophe plus "s". See below.
doting the i's p's and q's four c.o.d.'s wearing pj's
Rule 29: Numbers expressed in figures are pluralized by the
addition of "s" alone. See below.
in the 1920s sort the W-2s Catch-22s Temperature in the 20s
one - ones two - twos three -
six - sixes Twenty -
Numbers expressed in words are pluralized using normal rules.
Put in the correct form of the plural.
Example: car - ___
Answer: car - cars
Try this simple exercise on plurals.
1) ox -
2) roof -
3) potato -
4) party -
1) ox - oxen
2) roof - roofs
3) potato - potatoes
4) party - parties
The link below is to some worksheets that you can
use for class work, home work, or for yourself.
Plural Noun Work Sheets
Any questions, comments, advice, and / or wishes –
you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org