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Plural of Embargo

The Quick Answer
The plural of embargo is embargoes.

The Plural of Embargo

The plural of embargo is embargoes.
  • Trade embargoes are typically motivated by political, economic, moral, or environmental reasons.
  • The US embargo on Cuba remains one of the longest-standing embargoes.
The noun embargo 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 embargo
zero
add either s or es
(There are no rules for this - you have to know.)
embargoes
zeros
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 dwarf
knife
ves and/or s
(There are no rules - you have to know.)
dwarfs
knives
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 Embargo?

There is confusion because the rule for forming plurals with nouns ending in o isn't straightforward. Most nouns will just add an s. For example:
  • Solo becomes solos.
  • Piano becomes pianos.
Some add es. For example:
  • Tomato becomes tomatoes.
  • Potato becomes potatoes.
With some words, both versions are accepted. For example:
  • Volcano becomes volcanoes or volcanos.
  • Buffalo becomes buffaloes or buffalos.
The plural of embargo is always embargoes. Unfortunately, there is no clever way of knowing which nouns ending o follow which rules. You have to know. (For example, you have to know that embargo becomes embargoes, but solo becomes solos.)

Beware

Don't Use an Apostrophe to Form a Plural

Adding 's is never an option when forming the plural of a noun. Despite this simple rule, inexperienced writers often feel compelled to add an apostrophe, especially when the noun ends with a vowel (e.g., piano, tomato, emu). For example:
  • The emu's were hungry.
  • The emus were hungry.
Read more about apostrophes and plurals.
Read more about using apostrophes.