Nouns and their Plural Forms

Nouns and Their Plural Forms

In looking at Nouns and their plural forms, it is imperative to note that the English Language comprises words derived from many other languages of the world such as Greek, Latin, French, German, Italian, etc. In most cases, plural endings of nouns are formed with the addition of any of the following suffixes:

Formation of Plural Nouns

  • s’ – boy/boys, ruler/rulers, car/cars, girl/girls, house/houses, lock/locks, key/keys, cupboard/cupboards, bucket/buckets, list/lists, book/books, spoon/spoons, etc.
  • es’ – brush/brushes, church/churches, bush/bushes, fish/fishes (different ones) etc.
  • ies’ – lorry/lorries, lady/ladies, berry/berries, baby/babies, cherry/cherries, etc.
  • ves’ to nouns ending in ‘f’ – knife/knives, leaf/leaves, shelf/shelves, loaf/loaves,
  • Some nouns have their internal structures changed – man/men, tooth/teeth, foot/feet, goose/geese, woman/women, etc.

But most nouns with foreign origins have their plural formed differently from the way other English nouns form their plurals. Certain nouns, however, have adopted the English plural forms like the following:

  • Vortex – Vortexes,
  • Syllabus – Syllabuses,
  • Stadium – Stadiums, etc.

despite the validity of their original pluralised forms; that is:

  • Vortex – Vortices,
  • Syllabus – Syllabi,
  • Stadium – Stadia.

Plural Nouns Loaned into English

Below are examples of some nouns and their plural nouns which are not originally English but were loaned into the English Language:

  • Alga – Algae
  • Alumna – Alumnae
  • Alumnus – Alumni
  • Analysis – Analyses
  • Antenna – antennae
  • Antenna – Antennae/Antennas
  • Appendix – Appendices/Appendixes
  • Automaton – Automata
  • Axis – Axes
  • Bacillus – Bacilli
  • Bacterium – bacteria
  • Bandit – banditti
  • Basis – Bases
  • Basis – Bases
  • Beau – beaux,
  • Bureau – Bureaux
  • Bureau – bureaux/bureaus
  • Cactus – Cacti/Cactuses
  • Chateau Chateaux/chateaus
  • Cherub – Cherubim,
  • Cicatrix – Cicatrices
  • Crisis – Crises
  • Criterion – Criteria
  • Curriculum – Curricula/Curriculums
  • Datum – Data
  • Ellipsis – Ellipses
  • Ellipsis – Ellipses
  • Erratum – Errata
  • Executrix – Executrices
  • Focus – Foci
  • Formula – Formulae/Formulas
  • Fresco – Freschi/Frescos or frescoes
  • Fungus – Fungi




More of Loaned Plural Nouns

  • Gateau – Gateaux/Gateaus
  • Gymnasium – Gymnasia
  • Hypothesis – Hypotheses
  • Index – Indices/Indexes
  • Larva – Larvae
  • Locus – Loci
  • Matrix – Matrices
  • Medium – Media
  • Memorandum – Memoranda
  • Millennium – Millennia/Millenniums
  • Nebula – Nebulae
  • Neurosis – Neuroses
  • Nucleus – Nuclei
  • Neuroma – Neuromata
  • Oasis – Oases
  • Ovum – Ova
  • Paralysis – Paralyses
  • Parenthesis – Parentheses
  • Phenomenon – Phenomena
  • Pizza – Pizze/Pizzas
  • Plateau – Plateaux
  • Polyhedron – Polyhedral
  • Portmanteau – Portmanteaux
  • Pupa – Pupae/Pupas
  • Radius – Radii
  • Referendum – Referenda/Referendums
  • Risotto – Risotti/Risottos
  • Stadium – Stadia/Stadiums
  • Stemma – Stemmata
  • Stigma – Stigmata
  • Stimulus – Stimuli
  • Stratum – strata
  • Syllabus – syllabi
  • Synopsis – Synopses
  • Synthesis – Syntheses
  • Terminus – Termini/Terminuses
  • Thesaurus – Thesauri/Thesauruses
  • Thesis – Theses
  • Thesis – Theses,
  • Torus – tori
  • Trousseau trousseaux trousseaus
  • Vertebra – Vertebrae
  • Vertebra – vertebrae,
  • Vita – vitae
  • Zoon – Zoa




Nouns that Remain Unchanged in their Plural Forms

There are some nouns which remain unchanged in their plural forms. Some examples are shown below:

  • Advice
  • Aircraft
  • News
  • Bison
  • Furniture
  • Corn
  • Machinery
  • Deer
  • Stationery
  • Equipment
  • Evidence
  • Fish
  • Gold
  • Information
  • Jewellery
  • Kin
  • Legislation
  • Luck
  • Luggage
  • Moose
  • Music
  • Offspring
  • Sheep
  • Silver
  • Swine
  • Trousers
  • Trout
  • Wheat

Nouns that Always Appearing in Plural Forms

There are some nouns which always appear in the plural form whenever we write them. Examples of such nouns include:

  • Barracks
  • Bellows
  • Cattle
  • Congratulations
  • Deer
  • Dregs
  • Economics
  • Electronics
  • Eyeglasses
  • Gallows
  • Headquarters
  • Kinetics
  • Mathematics
  • Means
  • Measles
  • Mumps
  • News
  • Oats
  • Pajamas
  • Pants
  • Pliers
  • Scissors
  • Series
  • Shears
  • Shorts
  • Species
  • Statistics
  • Thermodynamics
  • Tongs
  • Tweezers
  • Vespers




Plural Forms of Compound Nouns

 A compound noun comprises two or more words that are hyphenated; that is, joined by a hyphen.

Examples of Compound Words

Brother-in-law, mother-in-law, sister-in-law, secretary-general, head-of-state, director-general, etc.

How Do we Pluralise Compound Nouns

The confusion often arises as to how to pluralise these compound words. We need to know that one of these words is a noun while the other is an adjective. Learners of English have problem in deciding which word is a noun and which one is an adjective.

Compound Nouns and their Plural Forms

Grammatically, only nouns and verbs can be pluralised and in a case where we have a noun and an adjective, it is the noun that we pluralise. So in compound words as described above, we pluralise the nouns which are usually the first words; but if the second word is a noun, it gets pluralised. In other instances, if none of the two words is significant in itself, we pluralise the last word.

  • Brothers-in-law
  • Mothers-in-law
  • Sisters-in-law
  • Brothers-in-law
  • Fathers-in-law
  • Attorneys-General
  • Secretaries-General
  • Heads-of-State
  • Directors-General
  • Orders-in-council
  • Assistant chiefs of staff
  • Courts-martial
  • Poets laureate
  • Chiefs of staff
  • Major-Generals
  • Brigadier-Generals
  • Trade unions
  • Judge advocates
  • Men drivers
  • Women writers
  • Managing directors
  • Accountants General
  • Head masters




Nouns Hyphenated with a Preposition

We form the plural of a noun hyphenated with a preposition by pluralising the noun. For example:

  • Fillers-in
  • Hangers-on
  • Passers-by
  • Makers-up
  • Runners-up

When None of the Words is a Noun

If none of the hyphenated words is a noun, we pluralise the second word. For example:

  • Also-rans
  • Go-betweens
  • Run-ins
  • Higher-ups

Nouns that End in -ful

For nouns that end ‘ful’, we simply add ‘s’. For example:

  • Teaspoonfuls
  • Cupfuls
  • Handfuls
  • Sackfuls
  • Bagfuls
  • Containerfuls
  • Roomfuls
  • Mouthfuls
  • Pocketfuls

There are many more examples that you can lay hands on when it comes to Nouns and their plural forms. Thank you for reading through. Kindly connect with us on our Social Media Platforms.

66 Comments

  1. This write up is a very good one. It has helped me in discovering the plural forms of words that I have been pluralizing wrongly before

  2. Wow, the write up is really educative
    I’ve now realize my past mistakes in putting words in plural form that it is not all words that ends with “s” that are in plural form

  3. Wow,this is revealing and educating, especially those compound words.
    But sir, how can we write plural forms of noun that normally appears in plural forms ?

  4. Wow, the write up is really educative
    I’ve now realize my past mistakes in putting words in plural form that it is not all words that ends with “s” that are plural

  5. Sincerely sir I realised most of the plural forms of noun that am getting wrong. I also discovered most nouns that I dont even know their plural forms actually exist.. Very educative.

  6. Sir the plural of fish, is it fish or fishes because it was written twice and one of the plural given is fish and another fishes

  7. Hmmm. This write up is really insightful. I just found out dear is the plural for dear. It should really improve my speaking skills

  8. Wow…I never thought some words exist until now.
    I can’t just stop reading it all over again.

  9. Wow, so many new things to learn. However sir, is the plural of fish not fishes. I don’t know if it was a mistake or that’s how it’s meant to be. Thanks sir

  10. This is good for study because it open our to many things that we can gain from textbooks at once. Thank sir.

  11. Sir, in terms of pluralia kantums pardon my spelling ,I think stadium is also in that form and should not be taking the form “s”

  12. Can’t believe what my eyes is seeing. Thought I knew all of this but I was wowed. This is mind blowing

  13. Wow! This article really provides an insight on the plural forms of a lot of nouns.I learnt a lot. (especially about the plural forms of compound nouns)

  14. If I was to rate I will give this article a 5 due to the fact that most of the textbooks I have used did not pay much attention to plural like this article did

  15. Although this is an explanatory article, I am still confused on the use of the plural form of words such as ‘syllabus- syllabi/syllabuses’… Are both acceptable in our present use of English?

  16. Have been making a lot of mistakes pluralizing nouns,but what really got my attention is in the case of the plural of pizza is pizze….

  17. This article has given me a wide views on how to pluralize a noun very well especially compound words. Thanks a lot sir.

  18. when I tried it I missed almost 50℅ of it.This article has give me a wide view on how to pluralize a noun, especially how to pluralize compound word. Thanks a lot sir

  19. Thought we only pluralise by adding “s”, “es”, “ives” and “ies” didn’t know there is more to it like the case of stigma whose plural is stigmata

  20. Wow! I can now correct myself on the ones I got wrong. Very Educative post. I don’t even know that we can add (s) to words like stadium. I’m familiar with changing ‘ium’ to ‘ia’.

  21. when I tried it I missed almost 50℅ of it.This article has give a wide view on how to pluralize a noun, especially how to pluralize compound word.thanks a lot sir

  22. I had been waiting so long for a write-up like this.Alas, it is here and now i know better than what i knew.Thanks a lot sir.

  23. This is so educative..it really enlightens me about the plural of some words I don’t know..Thanks for this Sir

  24. As far as we live, we will keep on learning! Thanks for this great insightful lecture. More Knowledge has been added but my question is:
    Head in head of state is pluralised. Meanwhile in head master is not pluralised i.e head masters, why is it like that?

  25. So educating and inspiring. Some words like algae and the rest I thought algae is the singular form but after reading this I understand better and I now know where my lapses are. Need to read more on plurals. Thanks so much sir

  26. This is a very nice write up,which is an eye opener to errors commonly make.
    Am sure this information would be of good use to me in my nearest endeavours.
    A job well done sir.

      1. Thanks for dedicating a whole content to pluralization of words.
        Most standard textbooks don’t pay much attention to stuffs like this.

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