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Singular Nouns vs. Plural Nouns

Many common nouns can be singular or plural. Singular means one. Plural means more than one.

We make many nouns plural by adding ‘-s'.

SingularPlural
bookbooks
dogdogs
tabletables
pillowpillows
appleapples

Here are some example sentences.
  • I have one brother and 3 sisters.
  • She has a dog and two cats.
  • There are many houses in the neighborhood.
  • How many pillows do you have?
  • Can I have one cookie?
Some nouns change in a little different way. Here are 3 rules that you need to remember.

1. If a singular noun ends in "-s, -x, -z, -ch, -sh" then we make the plural form by add ‘-es'.

SingularPlural
busbuses
boxboxes
wishwishes
benchbenches
dishdishes
churchchurches
brushbrushes
  • You can take many different buses into the city.
  • I saw 3 foxes in the forest.
  • The genie will grant you three wishes.
2. If a singular noun ends in "consonant+ y" then we make the plural dropping the ‘y' and adding ‘-ies'.

SingularPlural
strawberrystrawberries
librarylibraries
spyspies
citycities
babybabies

But if the word ends in "vowel + y", then we just add an ‘-s'.

SingularPlural
toytoys
kidneykidneys
monkeymonkeys

I know that this annoying. But it should not be too hard because there are not many nouns that end in "-y".
  • There are many cities that I want to visit.
  • When I visit my family, there are many babies. I am not sure if I want to have a baby.
  • Our city only has one library, but many people think we should build more libraries.
  • The child has many toys in his room.
3. If a singular noun ends in "-f" or "-fe" then we make the plural form by changing the "f" to "v" and adding ‘-es'. The easiest way to understand is to see examples.

SingularPlural
wolfwolves
knifeknives
leafleaves

Luckily, there are not many nouns like this. Here are a few example sentences.
  • I saw one wolf, but my brother says he saw 3 wolves.
  • She loves to cook, so she has many knives in her kitchen.
  • There are many leaves on the ground.
4. If a word ends in "-o" there are no definite rules. Sometimes we add ‘-s' and sometimes we add ‘-es'. We just need to memorize these words. Here is a list of ones that you need to know.

SingularPlural
heroheroes
avocadoavocados
potatopotatoes
tomatotomatoes
torpedotorpedoes
zoozoos
studiostudios
  • When he first started his business, he owned one studio, but now he owns over 10 studios in 5 different cities.
  • I don't know any city that has multiple zoos.
  • The X-Men series follows a group of heroes as they fight bad guys.
  • We have many tomatoes. Please take some.
When you are learning English, all these grammar rules can be annoying, but you will learn a lot of these naturally as you continue to study English and it will be easier than you think.

Make sure that you understand this basic English grammar well. It is important to know if you want to speak English well.

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