Grammar: Plurals

Posted April 14, 2016 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Editing, Grammar Explanations, Self-Editing, Writing

No. No, no, no, no, nooooooo. Plural words are not ‘s.

Plurals are created by adding an s on the end of the word. NOT an ‘s. And, sigh, yes, there are exceptions — depending upon the style guide you’re using AND IF you are pluralizing single letters, numbers, or words. Lol, yes, there is a difference between making a singular word plural and pluralizing a word.

Fortunately, most words which can be made plural are nouns; pronouns have their own subset of plurals — none of which you need to change; and, adjectives have been employed as somewhat generic plural nouns. Now that you’re aware of the possibility, I’m sure more will jump out at you. Preferably when you’re not driving…*grin*…

A great many nouns will have irregular plural endings…a myriad of them, which require you to swap out the singular ending and add in a different set of letters to make it plural. Sometimes, the irregular ending is due to the word’s origins.

I must confess I do not understand how creating a plural can possibly be so difficult; it is mind boggling. And the number of times I encounter the conflict within the novels I read and out in the world scares me to death. Where in god’s name are the teachers????

The needs of the plural outweigh the needs of the singular.

Besides the General Plural Concept

Some singular nouns are treated as plurals while certain plural nouns are treated as singulars — and keep an eye on those collective nouns. Numbers have their own set of rules when it comes to plurals while titles using plural nouns (and it’s more than simply book titles, but also company names, organizations, sports teams, family names, and more) are always singular. Don’t’cha just love English!? Compound nouns present their own issues with some being pluralized by the first head, some by the last, and some with all of the heads.

Other Grammatical Issues to Consider

A number of other aspects of grammar are affected by whether a word is plural or singular, including subject-verb agreement, determiners, and personal pronouns.

Grammar Explanations is…

…an evolving list of the structural rules and principles that determines where words are placed in phrases or sentences as well as how the language is spoken. Sometimes I run across an example that helps explain better or another “also known as”. Heck, there’s always a better way to explain it, so if it makes quicker and/or better sense, I would appreciate suggestions and comments from anyone… Are there areas of grammar with which you struggle? If you’d like to track it, bookmark this page and consider sharing this Grammar Explanation with friends by tweeting it.

Plurals
Credit to: Learn English.de; English Plural in Wikipedia; Capital Community College
Part of Speech: Language
Definition: Indicates more than one.

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Noun as a Plural (continued)

Adjective as a Plural
Rule: Denotes a designated type of people.

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Adjective As a Noun It Means…
unemployed the unemployed unemployed people
homeless the homeless homeless people
Noun as a Plural
Singular Noun Rule: Add an s on the end of the singular noun.

Naturally, there are exceptions. This is the English language, so exceptions are the rule.

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ball balls bat bats
boy boys cat cats
dog dogs girl girls
lake lakes popsicle popsicles
river rivers tree trees
Irregular Noun Endings
Definition: Any plural ending other than simply adding an -s at the end.

A.k.a., mutated plural, mutating plural

Nouns Ending in an S-like Sound Rule: Singular noun ending in:

  • -ch
  • -o
  • -s, -sh
  • -us
  • -x
  • -z
  • any other s-like sound tack on an -es to make that word plural

Exceptions can also be found in the Latin origins of words ending in -ex or -ix and -is.

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Singular Nouns Ending in… Singular Noun Plural Noun
-ch church churches
couch couches
coach coaches
-o hero heroes
obo oboes
no nos
noes
potato potatoes
volcano volcanoes
-s boss bosses
bus buses (preferred)
busses
buss busses
cuss cusses
dress dresses
yes yeses
(not commonly used)
yesses
(preferred plural)
-sh bush bushes
crush crushes
shush shushes
-us octopus octopuses
octopodes
platypus platypuses
platypus
-x fox foxes
box boxes
complex complexes
phalanx [Military] phalanxes
[Medical] phalanges
tax taxes
wax waxes
-z buzz buzzes
chintz chintzes
quiz quizzes *
razz razzes
waltz waltzes
Other
Latin words that, through habit, accept an English plural. virus * viruses
Words of Italian origin that end in -o do not add the -es. canto cantos
photo photos
piano pianos
portico porticos
pro pros
quarto quartos
zero zeros
* And sometimes ya gotta double up that last z.
Noun Ending in:
-f
-fe
-ff
Rule: Eliminate the -f or -fe and use -ves. And, yes, there are exceptions. *

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calf calves roof [Archaic] rooves
roofs
dwarf dwarfs
dwarves
[Stick of wood] staff staves
elf elves [People] staff * staff
flagstaff * flagstaffs turf turves
hoof hooves wife wives
knife knives half halves
leaf leaves loaf loaves
life lives
Noun Ending in:
-is
Rule: Convert the -is to an -es.

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crisis crises oasis oases
thesis theses analysis analyses
diagnosis diagnoses
Noun Ending in:
-y
Rule: Convert using an -ies.

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cherry cherries party parties
Germany Germanies Sicily Sicilies
lady ladies Scilly Scillies
money monies
moneys
penny pennies
baby babies daisy daisies
Exceptions For:
-y
Rule: Add -s.

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Harry Harrys Mary Marys
Kennedy Kennedys Larry Larrys
lay-by lay-bys standby standbys
-vowel+y Rule: Add -s.

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day days monkey monkeys
Really Irregular Noun Plurals This is the catch-all category of nouns don’t fit anywhere else!

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Singular Plural Plural
(Use in more formal situations)
person persons
people
persons
people people peoples
dice dice
die *


[Computer Industry]dice
dies
die
* Not in common usage
Ablaut Plurals Definition: Found in Indo-European languages, it is the regular alternation within a word, especially of a vowel, as it changes its grammatical function or a combination of such.

For example: sing, sang, sung, song; ride, rode, ridden; or fly, flew, flown.

Rule: Changes the vowel sound of the singular.

A.k.a., mutated plural

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fireman firemen louse lice
foot feet man men
goose geese mongoose mongeese
mongooses
mouse mice * house houses *
policeman policemen policewoman policewomen
postman postmen tooth teeth
woman women
wimmin
child children
* Not all -ouse ending words use the same plural ending.
Abbreviation,
Acronym
Rule: Add a lowercase s.

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CDs
DVDs
OSs
CSIs
B.S.s
M.A.s
Ph.D.s
Mps
1099s
IQs
URLs
MREs
POWs
RBIs
Singular & Plural Rule: Some abbreviations or acronyms are treated as singular or plural without requiring an -s.

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rpm
mpg
Abstract Nouns Rule: A collective grouping of singular nouns without plurals and uncountable nouns.

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audience
beauty
curiosity
cunning
data
deceit
freshness
good / bad
goodness / badness
graffiti
honesty
hot / cold
information
intelligence
laziness
poverty
specie
(refers to coinage, not as a singular for species)
stupidity
wisdom
Archaic,
Dialectical,
Rare
Plural Endings
Rule: Nouns that use -e OR -en as the plural ending.
Common Archaic Plurals Definition: Old English words with a weak masculine declination.

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Single Noun Archaic Plural Today’s Plural
aurochs aurochsen aurochs
brother brethren brothers
child children children
ox oxen oxen
Uncommon Archaic Plurals Tip: If writing an historical novel, it can be handy to know the dialectical, rare, or archaic usage of plural nouns.

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Dialect,
Archaic,
Obsolete
Singular Plural
Ireland, dialectal bee been
Scots, archaic, regional
From a much earlier Scots form, kye
cow kine
Rare
Some regional dialects
eye eyen
Rare, dialectal house housen
Rare, archaic hose hosen
Archaic, obsolete knee kneen
Rare, dialectal shoe shoon
Archaic, obsolete tree treen
Huh? I collect treenware, and I knew it meant wooden ware; now I know where its name comes from!
Attributive Noun Definition: A noun that comes before a head noun. It is joined directly to a modified noun. The opposite of predicative.

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dog catcher
department store has more than one department
trouser mangle
twenty-dollar bill
ten-foot pole
two-man tent
glasses case case for eyeglasses
glass case case made of glass
arms race
arm wrestling
women killers women who kill
woman killers killers who kill women
Compound Nouns
Anatomy of a Compound Noun Definition: A compound begins with a noun head and an adjective as a secondary word. Read more about compound nouns in the post, “Grammar Explanation: Noun.
Two-Compound Noun
Rule: Compound words ending in -one, -body, or -thing are always singular.
One Noun Head Rule: Whether the head noun is the first or last word, only the head noun is plural.

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Compound Noun Its Plural
attorney general attorneys general
bill of attainder bills of attainder
court martial courts martial
director general directors general
fee simple absolute fees simple absolute
governor general governors general
passerby passersby
ship of the line ships of the line
son-in-law sons-in-law
minister-president ministers-president
yellow-dog contract yellow-dog contracts
able seaman able seamen
Legend:

  1. Green indicates the head noun
Two Noun Heads
Head 1 is Irregular Plural Noun Rule: If both nouns are heads AND the first head has an irregular plural form, generally pluralize both.

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Head Noun with an Irregular Plural Pluralized
manchild men-children
manservant menservants
woman doctor women doctors
Legend:

  1. Green indicates the head noun with an irregular plural form
Head 1 is Standard Plural
Head 2 is Irregular
Rule: Two-headed compound noun with the first head using a standard plural form only pluralizes the second head.

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Compound Noun Plural
city-state city-states
nurse-practitioner nurse-practitioners
scholar-poet scholar-poets
Legend:

  1. Green indicates the noun head
“General” Noun Head Rule: [Military] While general, when combined into a two-part military title is technically an adjective, it is treated as a noun, which makes it a head. Pluralize general.

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“General” Compound Noun Plural
brigadier general brigadier generals
major general major generals
Legend:

  1. Green indicates the “general” head noun
Three-Compound Nouns
One Noun Head Rule: The head noun with an irregular plural form is pluralized.

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Noun Head with Irregular Plural Pluralized
man-about-town men-about-town
man-of-war men-of-war
woman of the street women of the street
Legend:

  1. Green indicates the head with irregular plural form
Two Noun Heads Rule: There are two ways to pluralize a three-word compound noun:

  1. Pluralize the first head noun
  2. Pluralize the last head noun and hyphenate all three words
  3. Pluralize first and last head nouns

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Option 1: Option 2:
Compound Noun Pluralize First Noun Head Pluralize Last Noun Head AND Hyphenate
ham on rye hams on rye ham-on-ryes
jack-in-the-box jacks-in-the-box jack-in-the-boxes
jack-in-the-pulpit jacks-in-the-pulpit jack-in-the-pulpits
Option 1 / 2: Option 3:
Compound Noun Pluralize First Noun Head Pluralize Both Noun Heads
head of state heads of state heads of states
son of a bitch sons-of-a-bitch sons of bitches
O’ Compound Noun Rule: Compounds that include O’ pluralize only the last term. If it’s already plural, leave it alone.

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Compound Noun, Singular Compound Noun, Plural
cat-o’-nine-tails cat-o’-nine-tails
jack-o’-lantern jack-o’-lanterns
will-o’-the-wisp will-o’-the-wisps
Headless Compound Noun Rule: When the common form of the word is singular, treat it as though it were a basic plural.

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flatfoot flatfoots lowlife lowlifes
sabertooth sabertooths still life still lifes
tenderfoot tenderfoots [Sport teams]
Toronto Maple Leaf Toronto Maple Leafs
Pluralize Sports Teams with -s
Rule: Sports teams are usually pluralized with -s no matter how the noun is generally treated.
Team Name Normally Individual
Team
Member
More than
One Member
Toronto Maple Leafs leaves a Maple Leaf Maple Leaf players
the Maple Leafs
Florida Marlins marlin a Marlin Marlin players
the Marlins
Minnesota Lynx lynxes a Lynx Lynx players
Boston Red Sox socks a Red Sox Red Sox players
Sox players
Cincinnati Reds red,
reds
a Red
a Cincinnati Red
Red players
the Reds
French-Based Compound Words
Two-Compound Nouns
If Noun Head is First Rule: Pluralize both words with the head noun at the beginning.

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Compound Noun Compound Noun, Plural
agent provocateur agents provocateurs
entente cordiale ententes cordiales
fait accompli faits accomplis
idée fixe idées fixes
If Noun Head is Last Rule: Pluralize either both or only the last noun when the noun head is at the end.

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Compound Noun, Singular Compound Noun, Plural
beau geste beaux gestes
beau gestes
belle époque belles époques
belle époques
bel homme beaux hommes
bon mot bons mots
bon mots
bon vivant bons vivants
bon vivants
film noir film noirs
Legend:

  1. Green indicates the noun head
Three-Compound Nouns (French)
If Noun Head is First Rule: Usually pluralizes only the beginning noun head.

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Compound Noun, Singular Compound Noun, Plural
aide-de-camp aides-de-camp
cri du coeur cris du coeur
coup d’état coups d’état
tour de force tours de force
An Exception:
tête-à-tête tête-à-têtes
Legend:

  1. Green indicates the pluralized head noun
Family Names Rule: Add an -s if the name ends in a vowel or consonant. If the name ends in an -s, add an -es.

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Smith Smiths Adams Adamses
Brown Browns Jones Joneses
Did you hear about the Joneses?

The Greens put in a swimming pool.

Foreign Origin Plurals
French Origin
-eau Rule: The French form = -x.

The Anglicized form = -s.

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Original French, Singular Original French, Plural Anglicized, Singular Anglicized Plural
beau beaux   beaux
beaus
bureau bureaux   bureaux
bureaus
château châteaux   châteaux
châteaus
tableau tableaux   tableaux
tableaus
Greek Origin

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Original Greek, Singular Original Greek, Plural Anglicized, Singular Anglicized Plural
gyro gyros gyros
gyro is coming into use
gyros
kudo kudos kudos
kudo is coming into use
kudos
Hebrew Origin
Rule: Add -im, -ot, or -s.

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Original Hebrew, Singular Original Hebrew, Plural Anglicized, Singular Anglicized Plural
cherub cherubim   cherubim
cherubs
seraph seraphim   seraphim
seraphs
kibbutz kibbutzim   kibbutzim
kibbutzes
matzah matzot   matzot
matzahs
Inuktitut Origin
Rule: Best to retain original plurals.

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Original Inuktitut, Singular Original Inuktitut, Plural
Inuksuk
inukshuk
inuksuit
[Inhabitant of Iqaluit]
Iqalummiuq Iqalummiut
[Inhabitant of Nunavik]
Nunavimmiuq Nunavimmiut
Inhabitant of Nunavut
Nunavummiuq Nunavummiut
Japanese Origin
No Plural Form Rule: Do nothing.

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Original Japanese, Singular Original Japanese, Plural
benshi benshi
otaku otaku
samurai samurai
Uses a Regular English Plural Rule: Add an -s.

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Original Japanese, Singular Anglicized Plural
futon futons
kimono kimonos
ninja ninjas
tsunami tsunamis
Latin Origin
Rule: A good rule of thumb when working with words of a Latin origin is to:

  • Use the Latin plural in an academic or scientific context
  • Use the Anglicized form in daily speech
Latin Nouns that Stay the Same Rule: Do nothing.

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Original Latin, Singular Original Latin, Plural Anglicized, Singular Anglicized Plural
meatus meatus   meatus
meatuses
status status   status
statuses
Noun Ending in:
-ies
Rule: Do nothing.

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Singular Plural
series series
species species
-a Rule: The Latin form = -ae or æ.

The Anglicized form = -as.

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Original Latin, Singular Original Latin, Plural Anglicized, Singular Anglicized Plural
alga algae algae algae
antenna antennae   [Radio or radar engineer]antennas

[Entomologist]antennae
encyclopaedia encyclopediae [U.S.] encyclopedia

[British] encyclopaedia
[U.S.] encyclopedias

[British] encyclopaedias
formula formulae   formulas
supernova supernovae   supernovas
-as Rule: The Latin form = -antes.

The Anglicized form = -es.

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Original Latin, Singular Original Latin, Plural Anglicized, Singular Anglicized Plural
[Statues of the Titans]
Atlas Atlantes
Exceptions include:
[Map Collections]
atlas atlases
-e Rule: The -e is replaced by ia.

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Original Latin, Singular Original Latin, Plural Anglicized, Singular Anglicized Plural
insigne insignia insignia insignias
-ex
-ix
Rule: The Latin form = -ices.

The Anglicized form = -ixes or -exes.

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Original Latin, Singular Original Latin, Plural Anglicized, Singular Anglicized Plural
appendix appendices   [Linguist]appendices

[Doctors]appendixes
index indices   indices
indexes
matrix matrices    
vertex vertices    
-is Rule: Replace with -es.

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Original Latin, Singular Original Latin, Plural
axis axes
crisis crises
testis testes
-ma Rule: The Latin form = -ata.

The Anglicized form = -as.

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Original Latin, Singular Original Latin, Plural Anglicized, Singular Anglicized Plural
anathema anathemata   anathemata
anathemas
dogma dogmata   dogmata
dogmas
lemma lemmata   lemmata
lemmas
schema schemata   schemata
schemas
stigma stigmata   stigmata
stigmas
stoma stomata   stomata
stomas
-o Rule: Replace -o with -i. And there are exceptions.

Also see the Italian -o endings above.

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Original Latin, Singular Original Latin, Plural Anglicized, Singular Anglicized Plural
graffito graffiti graffiti graffiti
panino panini panini paninis *
paparazzo paparazzi paparazzi paparazzi
spaghetto spaghetti spaghetti spaghetti
-on,
-ion
Rule: Replace:

  • -on with -a
  • -ion with -ia

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Original Latin, Singular Original Latin, Plural
automaton automata
phenomenon phenomena
polyhedron polyhedra
criterion criteria
-um Rule: The Latin form = -a.

The Anglicized form = -s.

Exceptions-wise, there are too many to list.

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Original Latin, Singular Original Latin, Plural Anglicized, Singular Anglicized Plural
addendum addenda    
agendum agenda agenda agendas
bacterium bacteria bacteria bacteria
candelabrum candelabra candelabra candelabras
corregendium corrigenda    
datum data (Verify as to whether your organization uses datum or data as the singular.) data
forum fora forum forums
[Art, Communications & Digital Computers] [Spiritualists & Referring to Size]
medium media medium mediums
stratum strata    
-us Rule: Swaps the -us for -i, -era, or -ora.

* Non-Latin words that, through habit, accept a Latin pluralization.

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Original Latin, Singular Original Latin,
Plural
Anglicized, Singular Anglicized
Plural
alumnus alumni
alumnae
   
cactus cacti   cacti
cactuses
cactus
campus campi   campuses
census censi   censuses
corpus corpora corpora
corpuses
focus foci foci
focuses
fungus fungi   fungi
funguses
genus genera    
hippopotamus hippopotami   hippopotami
hippopotamuses
octopus ocotpodes   ocotpodes [rare]octopuses
octopi
opus opera opera operas
platypus platypi platypus
platypodes
prospectus prospectus prospectus
prospectuses
radius radii   radii
radiuses
stylus styli   styli
styluses
succubus succubi   succubi
succubuses
syllabus syllabi
[Old Latin] syllabūs
syllabi
syllabuses
terminus termini   termini
terminuses
uterus uteri   uteri
uteruses
viscus viscera    
virus virii   virii
viruses
New Zealand Māori Origin
No Plural Form Rule: Words connected to Māori culture and used in that context.

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Original Māori, Singular Original Māori, Plural
waka waka
Uses a Regular English Plural Rule: Names of flora and fauna may end with an -s, depending upon context.

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Original Māori, Singular Anglicized Plural
[Fruit, Bird]
kiwi kiwi
kiwis
[New Zealander]
Kiwi Kiwis
kowhai kowhai
kowhais
Māori Māori
Māoris *
* Many use Māori as an adjective and NOT as a noun.
tui tui
tuis
Slavic Origin
Rule: Replace:

  • The Slavic singular ending in:
    • -o is replaced by -a for the Slavic plural
    • -ar pr -st adds -i
  • The Anglicized plural uses either the Slavic plural or adds an -s to the original singular

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Original Slavic, Singular Original Slavic, Plural Anglicized, Singular Anglicized Plural
kniazhestvo kniazhestva   kniazhestva
kniazhestvos
kobzar kobzari   kobzari
kobzars
oblast oblasti   oblasti
oblasts
Italicized Noun as Plural Rule: Do not italicize the s.

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CSIs
The David Copperfields are in the back corner.

Measure Noun Definition: Nouns that measure length, weight, currency, etc.

Rule: In most cases, a measure noun combined with a number will be a zero plural with the “measure” acting as a singular or plural depending on the context.

The measure nouns foot (length unit), pound (unit of weight or of British currency), and stone (British weight unit) optionally take zero plurals: six foot two, twenty pound, fifteen stone.”

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He tops out at six-foot two.

Mary claims she’s lost twenty pounds.

That’ll be twenty pound, tuppence.

At fourteen pounds to the stone, a person weighing 140 pounds would also weigh ten stone.

Nouns That Stay the Same…sort of
Singular is the Plural Rule: Do nothing. Verb-wise, it depends upon the context as to whether it uses a singular or plural verb.

A.k.a., zero morpheme, null morpheme, zero plural

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Nationalities
British
Chinese
Danish
Dutch
English
Finnish
French
Japanese
Māori
Swedish
Swiss
Welsh
Native American Tribes
Blackfoot
Cherokee
Comanche
Cree
Crow
Delaware
Hopi
Iroquois
Kiowa
Navajo
Dine
Ojibwa
Sioux
Zuni
Music
blues jazz rock’n roll
Animals
bison
buffalo
cattle
deer
moose
sheep
swine
Marine Life
Exceptions include:
pike
salmon
cod
trout
plankton
lampreys
sharks
rays
Exceptions include:
Miscellaneous
equipment furniture barracks
Chemical Elements
[U.S.] aluminum
[British] aluminium
carbon
copper
earth / air / fire
gold
nitrogen
Singular is Also the Plural…and Sometimes Not Rule: Do nothing or add an -s. Verb-wise, it depends upon the context as to whether it uses a singular or plural verb.

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Certain Native American Tribes
Algonquin Algonquin
Algonquins
Apache Apache
Apaches
Aztec Aztec
Aztecs
Black Hawk Black Hawk
Black Hawks
Chippewa Chippewa
Chippewas
Huron Huron
Hurons
Incan Incan
Incans
Mayan Mayan
Mayans
Mohawk Mohawk
Mohawks
Oneida Oneida
Oneidas
Seminole Seminole
Seminoles
Miscellaneous
cannon cannon
cannons
aircraft
watercraft spacecraft
hovercraft ocean-going craft
Sciences
iris iris
irises
stone stone
stones
Plural-Only Noun Definition: Plural nouns that don’t have a singular form.

Rule: Do nothing. Do use plural-only nouns with a plural verb form.

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clothes
glasses
pants
panties
pantyhose
pliers
scissors
shorts
suspenders
thanks
tongs
trousers
Plural Noun Used as Singular Rule: These are plural nouns that are used as singular nouns, and therefore use a singular verb.

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acoustics
aerodynamics
billiards
chemistry
computer graphics
electronics
ethics
geometry
impressionism
linguistics
mathematics
[British] maths
measles
mechanics
news (information)
optics
physics
robotics
surrealism
Singular/Plural Noun That Depends Upon Context Rule: Certain elements may add an -s depending upon the context.

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sand sands Two grains of sand does not mean you have two sands, however, geologists or builders may distinguish between types of sand or sands.

Or, consider the various sands of Africa.

water waters Waters has the same distinction.
oxygen oxygens Several isotopes of a chemical may exist, so in the relevant fields, you may refer to oxygens.
Noun Number Rule:

  1. Without Numbers: Use -s when not modified by a number; if modifying a noun, include of
  2. With Numbers: Use the singular noun form (no -s), if placing a number in front of the number word
  3. Vague Numbers: May or may not use the same rules as “without numbers”
  4. Plural Numbers: When the number has a specific meaning and not a simple expression of quantity, treat it like a regular noun that’s pluralized

Naturally, there are exceptions.

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Without Numbers With Numbers Vague Numbers Pluralized as Noun
dozens of three dozen cheaper by the dozen ten fives
three twelves
hundreds of six hundred several hundred(s) [Sport reference]eight hundreds
millions of ten million got millions
thousands six thousand thousands and thousands of plural
scores of four score some score of years
grosses of two gross
[Livestock] head of fifty-two head (of)
I’ve got three hundreds, four fifties, and ten ones.

Can you believe the chickens laid three hundred eggs today?

There were thousands of them!

Pft, he’s got millions.

Peterson runs some five thousand head of cattle.

The box office grosses mounted.

They shipped ten gross of the rulers.

Honey, pick up three dozen eggs for me, please.

Quote a Plural Rule: The s goes inside the quotation mark.

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How many “to be continueds” should we expect?
Single Letter, Number, Word Rule: Some style guides simply add an s while others require an ‘s.

If using the s addition, consider putting the letter, number, or word in either italics or within quote marks.

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Add -s Use ‘s
APA Style Guide:
Chicago Manual of Style:
Oxford University Style Guide:

I got all As.
Mary got Bs and Cs.
Dot your is and cross your ts.
Dot your “i”s and cross your “t”s.


Mind your ps and qs.
Mind your “p”s and “q”s.


dos and don’ts
“do”s and “don’t”s


ifs, ands, and buts
“if”s, “and”s, and “but”s


maybes
“maybe”s


Hit all the 7s
Hit all the sevens
Hit all the “7”s
60s
MLA:
I got all As.
Mary got Bs and Cs.
Hit all the 7s
60s
MLA:
Rule: Lowercase case letters use ‘s.
Dot your i’s and cross your t’s

Mind your p’s and q’s

Title Using a Plural Noun Rule: When using a noun as the title of something or is a word being used as a word, it is singular whether the word takes a singular form or not.

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Faces is the name of the new restaurant downtown.

Okies, which most people regard as a disparaging word, was first used to describe the residents of Oklahoma during the 1930s.

Chelmsley Brothers is the best moving company in town.

Postcards is my favorite novel.

Legend:

  1. Green indicates the singular verb form used with a title noun
Years in the Plural Rule: Add -s whether the year is in a four-digit format or abbreviated.

Never use ‘s to pluralize years in any format; it makes the year possessive.

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YES NO
1980s
80s
1980’s
80’s
1860s 1860’s
Pronoun as a Plural
Rule: Plural personal pronouns can be separated into:

  • Person: 1st, second, third
  • Gender: female, male, neutral
  • Case: subject, object, possessive

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Person
Point-of-View
Gender Case
(Personal Pronouns)
Subject /
Nominative
Objective Possessive / Genitive
1st male
female
we us our
ours
2nd male
female
you you your
yours
3rd male
female
neuter
they them their
theirs
who
whoever
whom
whomever
whose

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C’mon, get it out of your system, bitch, whine, moan…which words are your pet peeves?


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