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Irregular Plural Nouns

In the last lesson, we said that many common nouns can be singular (one) or plural (more than one). We talked about how to change a noun from singular to plural. For example:

SingularPlural
bookbooks
catcats
teacherteachers
househouses
boxboxes
babybabies
knifeknives

However, there are some nouns that are irregular. We do not add ‘-s' to make them plural. We need to change them in a different way. In this lesson, we will cover all of the irregular plural nouns that you need to know.

There is no special rule for these nouns. We must memorize them. It is very important to memorize these nouns because many of them are very common words.

Here is a list of all the irregular plural nouns.

SingularPlural
manmen
womanwomen
childchildren
personpeople
footfeet
toothteeth
mousemice
goosegeese
cactuscacti
syllabussyllabi
diagnosisdiagnoses
oasisoases
crisiscrises
fungusfungi
nucleusnuclei
analysisanalyses

Some of these words you must know such as men, women, child, people, and feet.Some of the other words you might not need to use a lot. So, start with the most common words and memorized them first. Later, depending on your job, university major, or interests you can learn other ones.

My guess is that even most native speakers do not know all of these. So, you do not need to stress or worry about learning them.

Nouns which are always plural

Some nouns are always used in plural form. This is because they are a set. There are two things working together as one. Here is a list.
  • glasses (eyeglasses; not a glass for drinking or windows)
  • sunglasses
  • pants
  • clothes
  • scissors
  • binoculars
  • tweezers
Nouns that look plural, but are singular

Some look like they are plural, but are considered singular. These words end in ‘-s', but they are not plural.
  • news
  • billiards
  • athletics
  • linguistics
Here are some example sentences.
  • The news is interesting to me.
  • Billiards is hard.
Nouns that have the same plural and singular form

Some nouns are the same in both singular and plural form.
  • sheep
  • fish
  • deer
  • aircraft
  • species
We can usually tell if the noun is singular or plural from other words or clues in the sentence. Here are some examples.
  • I have one sheep, but my neighbor has 10 sheep.
  • There is a red fish and 20 yellow fish.
Make sure that you understand this basic English grammar well. It can be annoying to memorize these irregular plural nouns, but you must do it if you want to speak English fluently.

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