Plural of Belief

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The plural of belief is beliefs.

The Plural of Belief

The plural of belief is beliefs.
  • I would never die for my beliefs because I might be wrong. (Bertrand Russell)
  • You don't have to sacrifice who you are to follow your beliefs. (Bryan Clay)
The noun belief adheres to the standard rules for forming the plurals of nouns in English (shown in the table below).

Type Example of Type Forming the Plural Plural
Most Nouns lamp
scythe
add s lamps
scythes
Noun Ending s, sh, ch, x or z bus
dress
add es buses
dresses
Nouns ending [consonant] o hero
zero
tomato
add either s or es
(There are no rules for this - you have to know.)
heroes
zeros
tomatoes
Nouns ending [vowel] o patio
ratio
add s patios
ratios
Nouns ending [consonant] y story
penny
change the y to an i and add es stories
pennies
Nouns ending [vowel] y storey ()
donkey
add s storeys
donkeys
Nouns ending f or fe life
belief
ves and/or s
(There are no rules - you have to know.)
lives
beliefs
Exceptions man
louse
some nouns undergo a vowel or letters change men
lice
More exceptions salmon
sheep
some nouns do not change at all salmon
sheep

Why Is There Confusion over the Plural of Belief?

There is confusion because the rule for forming plurals with nouns ending in f or fe isn't straightforward. Most nouns will drop the f or fe and gain a ves. For example:
  • Knife becomes knifes.
  • Leaf becomes leaves.
Some just add s. For example:
  • Chief becomes chiefs.
  • Cliff becomes cliffs.
With some words, both versions are accepted. For example:
  • Scarf becomes scarfs or scarves.
  • Dwarf becomes dwarfs or dwarves.
The plural of belief is always beliefs. Unfortunately, there is no clever way of knowing which nouns ending f or fe follow which rules. You have to know. (For example, you have to know that thief becomes thieves, but belief becomes beliefs.)

Of note, the verb to believe (which means to accept a truth without proof) becomes believes in the third person present tense. (For example: Tommy still believes in Santa Claus.)


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