Plural of Roof

The Quick Answer

The plural of "roof" is "roofs."

The Plural of Roof

The plural of "roof" is "roofs."
  • Roofs constructed of flat sloped sections are referred to as pitched roofs. correct tick
  • The primary job of most roofs is to keep out water. correct tick
The noun "roof" adheres to the standard rules for forming the plurals of nouns in English (shown in the table below).

Table of Contents

  • Are You Good at Plurals?
  • The Standard Rules for Forming the Plurals
  • Why Is There Confusion over the Plural of Roof?
  • Ready for the Test?
plural of roof

Are You Good at Plurals?

Here's a quick test.
Getting ready...

The Standard Rules for Forming the Plurals

The table below shows the standard rules for forming the plurals of nouns in English.
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 (small British flag)
donkey
add s storeys
donkeys
Nouns ending f or fe life
roof
ves and/or s
(There are no rules - you have to know.)
lives
roofs
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
Read more about English spelling rules.

Why Is There Confusion over the Plural of Roof?

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 "knives."
  • "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."
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 "roof" becomes "roofs.")

Of note, some dictionaries may list "rooves" as a secondary spelling, but it is an archaic form of the plural and almost never used in modern-day writing. (See the evidence in Google's Ngram Viewer.)

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This page was written by Craig Shrives.