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Regular and Irregular Plural Nouns (-s, -es, -ies)

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Basics on the topic Regular and Irregular Plural Nouns (-s, -es, -ies)

What is a Plural Noun? – Definition

A singular noun, refers to one person, place, thing, or idea, but how do we define a plural noun?

A plural noun, refers to more than one person, place, thing, or idea.

Here are some examples of singular and plural nouns:

Singular Noun Plural Noun
person people
dish dishes
apple apples

If you have noticed, some different singular nouns have different plural nouns.

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That is because there are different plural nouns and they follow different rules. Let’s learn about some plural noun rules, so you can learn how to make a noun plural.

Plural Nouns – Rules

Now that you know the plural noun meaning, let’s talk about some rules. There are two types of plural nouns: regular and irregular.

For most nouns, simply adding an -s or -es will make them plural. Take a look at these examples:

Singular Noun Plural Noun
girl girls
pizza pizzas
apple apples

Regular Plural Nouns – -y Endings

If a word concludes with a consonant followed by -y, the -y is replaced with an -i before adding the suffix -es. Let’s take a look at a few examples:

Singular Noun Plural Noun
lady ladies
baby babies
sky skies

Irregular Plural Nouns

Now that we know the rules for regular plural noun words, you may be wondering what is an irregular plural noun.

The only answer to the question: what is an irregular plural noun is that there are no rules for them. In order to know what an irregular plural noun is, we just have to memorise them!

We’ll see some irregular plural noun examples below, but first, it is important to know that there are some patterns we can look out for when making an irregular noun plural. Such as:

Singular Noun Ending Rule
-f and -fe made plural by changing the -f to a -v and adding -es.
-o made plural by adding -es, while others only need an -s.
  • Last, the plural of some irregular nouns are formed by changing their vowels such as from -a to -e and -oo to -ee. What are examples of an irregular plural noun?

Here are some irregular noun plural examples:

Singular Noun Ending Rule Examples
-f and -fe made plural by changing the -f to a -v and adding -es. half and halves, calf and calves, life and lives
-o made plural by adding -es, while others only need an -s. potato and potatoes, hero and heroes, photo and photos
vowel change -a to -e and -oo to -ee tooth and teeth, foot and feet, man and men, woman and women

What’s a Plural Noun – Summary

What does plural noun mean? A plural noun, refers to more than one person, place, thing, or idea. There are two types of plural nouns: regular and irregular.

The rules of regular plural nouns say:

  • Most nouns can be made plural by adding -s or -es to the end, if a word ends with a consonant followed by -y, turn the -y into an -i and add -es.

  • There are no rules for irregular plural nouns. In order to know what an irregular plural noun is, we just have to memorise them!

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Want to know more about what is a plural noun with examples and have some plural noun practice? You will find plural noun examples, worksheets, and other activities on this website!

What’s a Plural Noun – Frequently Asked Questions

Why are there irregular plural nouns?
What are singular and plural nouns?
Is it wrong to use an apostrophe to make a noun plural?
How can I practise and improve my plural noun usage?
Are there exceptions to the "add -es" rule for nouns ending in -s, -sh, -ch, etc.?
Why do some nouns ending in "-y" change to "-ies"?

Transcript Regular and Irregular Plural Nouns (-s, -es, -ies)

"Hello and welcome back to The Plural is Right, a game show where you have to find plural nouns for singular nouns in order to win the grand prize!" Let's help Koko and Pip win the grand prize by learning about regular and irregular plural nouns. A singular noun refers to one person, place, thing, or idea. A plural noun refers to more than one person, place, thing, or idea. There are two types of plural nouns: regular and irregular. The rules of regular plural nouns say: Most nouns are made plural by adding or to the end, and if a word ends with a consonant followed by , turn the into an and add . Let's look at some examples from the board! ‘Street’ is made plural by adding an to change it to ‘streets’, ‘glass’ is made plural by adding to change it to ‘glasses’ and ‘family’ is made plural by replacing the with to change it to ‘families’. Irregular plural nouns don't follow any of these rules. That means you just have to memorise them! However, there are some patterns you can look for such as some words that end with and are made plural by changing the to a and adding . Another pattern is, some nouns that end in are made plural by adding and some that end in are made plural by only adding an at the end. Finally, the plural of some irregular nouns are formed by changing their vowels such as to and to . Let's look at some more examples from the board! ‘Half’ is made plural by replacing the with to change it to ‘halves’. ‘Life’ is made plural by replacing the with to change it to ‘lives’. ‘Potato’ is made plural by adding an to change it to ‘potatoes’. ‘Piano’ is made plural by adding to change it to ‘pianos’. ‘Woman’ is made plural by replacing with to change it to ‘women’. ‘Tooth’ is made plural by replacing with to change it to ‘teeth’. While Pip and Koko prepare for the final turn in the game, let's summarise! Remember, a singular noun, refers to only one person, place, thing, or idea. A plural noun refers to more than one person, place, thing, or idea. There are two types of plural nouns: regular and irregular. Regular plural nouns follow a set of rules while irregular plural nouns don't follow any of these rules. Some irregular plural nouns follow patterns, but not all. That means you just have to memorise them! "Oh oh, I know this one goose changes to geese!" "Pip just unlocked the grand prize, geese!" "What are we going to do with all these geese?"

Regular and Irregular Plural Nouns (-s, -es, -ies) exercise

Would you like to apply the knowledge you’ve learnt? You can review and practice it with the tasks for the video Regular and Irregular Plural Nouns (-s, -es, -ies).
  • Help Koko define the terms below.

    Hints

    Singular and plural are opposites.

    Singular means single or one.

    What do you think plural means?

    A regular word has a rule or pattern that it follows.

    Irregular words do the opposite.

    Solution

    A noun is a person, place or thing.

    Singular means one of something.

    Plural means more than one.

    Regular plural nouns end in -s, -es or ies.

    Irregular plural nouns must be memorised.

  • Do you know the regular plural form of these nouns?

    Hints

    Remember, 'y' becomes 'i' in the plural. For example, the plural of diary is diaries.

    For regular singular nouns that end in –s, –sh, –ch, –x or –z, add –es.

    Add '-s' for all other regular singular nouns.

    Solution

    Car: Cars

    • add 's'
    Trophy: Trophies
    • change 'y' to 'i' and add '-es'
    Box: Boxes
    • add '-es'
    Carrot: Carrots
    • add 's'

  • Regular or irregular plural?

    Hints

    Remember, regular plural nouns end in -s, -es or -ies.

    Irregular plural nouns sometimes change the vowel in the singular form.

    The plural of leaf is leaves. This is an irregular plural noun. Can you use this information to help you sort the words above?

    Solution

    Here we can see the correct answers.

  • What are the plural forms of the words below?

    Hints

    First, think whether the word is regular or irregular.

    If the word is regular, add '-s, -es or -ies'.

    Use this chart from the video to help you form the irregular plural nouns.

    Remember: sometimes irregular plural nouns change into completely new words. These must be memorised.

    Solution

    1.Eye: Eyes

    2.Person: People

    3.Baby: Babies

    4.Tooth: Teeth

    5.Wife: Wives

    6.Hero: Heroes

    7.Child: Children

  • What is the plural of butterfly?

    Hints

    This is a regular noun.

    Regular plural nouns end in -s, -es or -ies.

    Butterfly ends with y. Puppy also ends with y and the plural of puppy is puppies.

    Solution

    The plural of butterfly is butterflies.

    Change y to i and add the regular plural noun ending, -es.

  • Finish the sentences. Use the pictures for clues.

    Hints

    Sometimes the vowel changes in irregular plural nouns. Look at the picture below to help.

    Mouse is an irregular noun with a vowel change.

    Can you find which plural from the list has a vowel change in the middle of the word?

    Solution

    The potatoes are cooked.

    The geese are angry. Watch out!

    Bob and Dan want to be policemen when they grow up.

    Eek! My house has so many mice.

    Heidi bought two loaves of bread at the shop.