What are singular and plural nouns?
Using singular and plural nouns correctly is important to help you speak English with confidence.
- Singular and Plural meaning
- Singular and plural Examples
- Singular and Plural noun Grammar
- More irregular Singular and plural words
- Singular and plural Quiz
- Singular and plural worksheet
- Singular and plural Infographic
Singular and Plural meaning
Singular is a form of a noun that refers to only one person or thing.
- Matthew has a dog. [DOG is a singular countable noun.]
Plural is a form of a noun that refers to more than one person or thing.
- Allison has three dogs. [DOGS is a plural countable noun.]
Many nouns are made plural by adding the suffix S to the end of the word.
But there are also many nouns that are made plural by adding a different suffix.
Some plural forms change the spelling.
Some nouns don’t change at all for the plural form.
Let’s learn how to use different plural nouns with real examples that you can remember and use!
Singular and plural Examples
Add S to the end of these nouns to make them plural.
car – cars
- Jason has 4 cars, he loves driving.
shirt – shirts
- I bought 2 shirts yesterday, they were on sale.
store – stores
- Uniqlo stores are opening all over the world.
house – houses
- They are building some big houses near the train station.
benefit – benefits
- There are many benefits to waking up early.
hamburger – hamburgers
- I ordered 17 hamburgers, that should be enough for the whole team.
apple – apples
- I’ll pick up some apples when I’m at the store.
key – keys
- I always hang my keys by the front door.
computer – computers
- My friend John is really good with computers.
pen – pens
- I use two pens when I mark my student’s tests. A blue pen and a red pen.
desk – desks
- All the desks in my office are made of real wood.
cake – cakes
- The bakery near my house makes 75 cakes every day!
belief – beliefs
- Religious beliefs change depending on where you were born.
(Some) Nouns ending with the letter F
Many singular countable nouns ending in the letter F will change to V before adding ES to become plural.
wife – wives
- A religious leader in India had 39 wives! [LINK]
half – halves
- A 90-minute soccer game is split into two 45-minute halves.
knife – knives
- I have a kitchen drawer full of plastic forks and knives that came with my takeout orders.
life – lives
- Cats always land on their feet, that’s why we say a cat has nine lives.
(The plural form of the noun LIFE sounds like LAIVES. Listen to the pronunciation below.)
elf – elves
- Santa Claus and his elves are very busy at Christmas time.
loaf – loaves
- We are having 8 guests for Thanksgiving dinner. I bought a large turkey, lots of vegetables and two loaves of fresh bread.
leaf – leaves
- Autumn is my favorite season. I really love it when the leaves change color.
Nouns ending with s, x, z, ch, sh
Add ES to the end of these nouns to make them plural.
kiss – kisses
- When Randy got home his wife showered him with kisses.
box – boxes
- After the move, my house was full of empty boxes.
branch – branches
- After the storm, many branches had fallen from the tree.
wish – wishes
- The genie granted Aladdin three wishes.
Some words ending with S or Z will double the last letter before adding ES.
gas – gasses
- The air we breathe is a mixture of different gasses.
quiz – quizzes
- Quizzes are a fun way to test your English understanding.
Nouns ending in a consonant and the letter Y
The Y will change to an I before adding ES.
city – cities
- I have lived in many cities but Tokyo is my favorite.
lady – ladies
- My mother saw some ladies from her bowling league.
baby – babies
- Jennifer works at a nursery school. She loves taking care of babies.
theory – theories
- Scientists have different theories about the best way to send people to Mars.
bunny – bunnies
- I think bunnies are cute.
*If the letter Y follows a vowel ｗe only need to add an S to make the plural.
boy – boys / toy – toys
- Tell the boys to clean up their toys when they’re done playing.
day – days
- Your package will be delivered in 4 days.
Nouns ending in O
Some nouns ending with the letter O are made plural by adding ES
tomato – tomatoes / potato – potatoes
- Trent has lots of tomatoes and potatoes growing in his garden.
hero – heroes
- The Avengers are Earth’s mightiest heroes.
domino – dominoes
- People spend a lot of time setting up dominoes just to watch them fall down.
Some nouns ending with the letter O only need the letter S
kilo – kilos
- I weigh 72 kilos.
photo – photo
- Rachel took many photos during her trip to Spain.
piano – pianos
- Patrick has a job moving pianos. It must be hard work.
Some nouns ending with the letter O can be made plural both ways. [LINK]
Tornado volcano mosquito buffalo
- The area is experiencing many tornados/tornadoes this summer.
- Japan has 111 active volcanoes/volcanos right now.
- There are a lot of mosquitos/mosquitoes in the swamp.
- The number of buffalos/buffaloes in this region has been slowly decreasing.
*These spelling rules also apply to verbs in the third person singular. Check out my third-person singular blog post and video to learn even more.
Nouns with the same form for both plural and singular
Some animal groups don’t change for the plural form
sheep – sheep
- Did you know that there are over 25 million sheep in New Zealand?
deer – deer
- I saw 2 deer at the side of the road this morning. A mother and her baby.
moose – moose
- The campers were surprised to see 2 moose come out of the lake. Moose are actually good swimmers. [Moose facts]
species [a group into which animals, plants, etc. that are able to have sex with each other and produce healthy young are divided] LINK
- The two species are closely related.
fish – fish
- Brad and I went fishing yesterday. Brad caught 8 fish but I only caught one.
*The plural FISHES is possible – We use it when we talk about different species of fish. (like carp or tuna) This is mostly used in science. In usual conversation, FISH is the most common plural form.
Nouns ending with US will change to I
cactus – cacti
- Environmentalists warn that development in the desert will endanger wildlife and cacti.
fungus – fungi
- Some fungi have been found to protect the walls of your stomach.
stimulus – stimuli
- A highly sensitive person is someone who is greatly affected by social stimuli, such as other people’s voices and facial expressions. [LINK]
*These plurals are more common in scientific work than in conversation.
Nouns ending with IS will change to ES
thesis – theses
- The university has set a deadline of March 3rd for all doctoral theses candidates.
crisis – crises
- Crises are keeping president Biden close to White House.
Irregular plural Nouns
There is no rule for which nouns take an irregular plural form. It’s best to memorize these words. You will find an example sentence for each irregular plural to help you remember and use in your own conversations.
man – men
- All men are equal under the law.
woman – women
- The survey wants to hear the opinions of women between the ages of 25 and 45.
child – children
- There were nine children at the birthday party.
person – people
- More than 50 people waited in line for the new smartphone.
foot – feet
- After running a marathon my feet were very sore.
tooth – teeth
- You should brush your teeth 3 or 4 times a day.
goose – geese
- In the springtime, you can see many geese down beside the river.
mouse – mice
- You can learn 10 idioms about rats and mice here.
Singular and Plural noun Grammar
We talk about things existing with the verb TO BE.
Singular there is
- There is a cute KITTEN at the pet store.
- The MAN on the right is my boss.
Plural there are
- There are cute KITTENS at the pet store.
- The MEN on the left are my team members.
A singular countable noun cannot be used by itself. It needs to follow an article (A, AN, or THE) or a possessive pronoun.
There is cute KITTEN at the pet store.
There is a cute KITTEN at the pet store.
MAN on the right is my boss.
The MAN on the right is my boss.
BOSS is very friendly.
My BOSS is very friendly.
Plural countable nouns cannot be used with the articles A or AN.
There are a cute KITTENS at the pet store.
There are cute KITTENS at the pet store.
Plural countable nouns CAN be used with the articles THE.
The MEN on the left are my team members. OK
THIS, THAT, THESE, and THOSE
This and that are used with singular uncountable nouns. These and those are used with plural nouns.
- This kitten is so cute.
- That man is my boss.
- These kittens are so cute.
- Those men are my team members.
More irregular Singular and plural words
If one thing has two parts we use a plural noun.
The following pieces of clothing are written and spoken as plurals. They each have two parts, one for each leg.
Pants, shorts, stockings, jeans.
That is nice pants.
- Those are nice pants.
Thanks, I bought this jeans at the new store on Main Street.
- Thanks, I bought these jeans at the new store on Main Street.
Other singular nouns with two parts that are written as plural.
I bought a new glasses.
- I bought some new glasses.
Do you have a scissors I can borrow?
- Do you have any scissors I can borrow?
*We can make all these plural nouns singular by adding a pair of in front of the noun.
- That’s a nice pair of jeans.
- I just bought a new pair of glasses sunglasses.
- Can I borrow a pair of scissors?
Police officer is singular but police is plural.
- A police officer is on the scene now.
- The police are investigating the crime.
The following nouns are written with an S but they are used with singular grammar.
What time is the news on?
Gymnastics is my favorite Olympic sport.
Singular and Plural Quiz
Answer these quick Singular and Plural questions and test your English!
You can take the Google quiz on a separate page HERE.
Singular and plural Worksheet
Download the Quiz as a printable PDF worksheet. Great for teachers to use with private or group classes.
Singular and plural Infographic
Find more than 30 blog posts that help answer some of your confusing English questions. Click HERE!