Rules for the plural form of nouns. 

Plural nouns are words used to refer to more than one person, place, animal, thing or idea.
The plural form of nouns in English is formed as follows:

General Rule:   Add ‘s’ 

cats  | bags  | books  | tables  | houses  | dogs

Nouns ending in S, CH, SH, X or Z :  Add ‘es’ 

bus-buses | lunch-lunches  | switch-switches  | watch-watches | brush-brushes  | box-boxes  | waltz-waltzes

There is one exception to this rule:

If the noun ending in -ch is pronounced with a ‘k’ sound, add ‘s’ to form the plural:

Examples: stomach-stomachs |  monarch-monarchs

Nouns ending in F or FE:  Add ‘ves’ 

half-halves | shelf-shelves | leaf-leaves | thief-thieves | wolf-wolves | life-lives  | knife-knives | wife-wives 
Some exceptions: belief-belefs  | chef-chefs  |  proof-proofs  | roof-roofs….

Nouns ending in O:  Add ‘es’ or ‘s’ 

Examples ending in ‘es:
potato-potatoes  | tomato-tomatoes |hero-heroes |echo-echoes | veto-vetoes | mosquito-mosquitoes 

Examples ending in ‘s‘:
radio-radios  | stereo-stereos | video-videos | piano-pianos, photo-photos  | soprano-sopranos  ….

Nouns ending in Y  Consonant before ‘y’:

Remove ‘y’, add ‘ies’.
cherry-cherries  | city-cities   | country-countries | family-families | lady-ladies  | party-parties 

 Vowel before ‘y’:

Add ‘s’.
day-days | holiday-holidays | toy-toys  | key-keys, donkey-donkeys | turkey-turkeys | valley-valleys

Irregular plurals 

child-children | man-men | woman-women | foot-feet,  | tooth-teeth | goose-geese  | louse-lice | mouse-mice  | ox-oxen | person-people…

Compound nouns  (nouns containing two or more words)

Compound nouns are usually made plural by adding ‘s’ to the first noun. Examples:

passer-by: passers-by  | head of state: heads of state  | mother-in-law: mothers-in-law…

Nouns with no change in the plural 

deer | fish  | sheep | salmon  | trout  | aircraft | hovercraft | spacecraft  | headquarters  | series  | species  | means  | offspring …

Plural nouns with no singular form

Some plural nouns have no singular form.
belongings  | binoculars  | clothes  | earnings  | goods  | premises  | sunglasses  | trousers  | shorts  | scissors | stairs  | surroundings…

These nouns take a plural verb :

  • My clothes are wet.
  • The company’s earnings are increasing every year.
  • Wow! Your sunglasses are very fashionable!
  • These scissors are rusty.
  • To refer to one item of clothing, tools or instruments which consist of two parts, a pair of is used :
  • A pair of trousers
  • A pair of scissors.

Some nouns appear to be plural in form but take a singular verb.
For example : news, gymnastics, athletics, economics, physics, politics

    • Athletics is a competitive sport.
    • The news is not very good I’m afraid.
    • They say politics is a complicated business.
    • Gymnastics is fun to watch.
    • Linguistics is the study of language.
    • Physics is a difficult subject for many students.