The Plural Forms of Words

The Quick Answer
The word plural means more than one in number. (It contrasts with singular.) The term plural can apply to nouns, adjectives, pronouns, and verbs. For example:

Word TypeExample in the
Singular Form
Example in the
Plural Form
NounCatCats
AdjectiveHisTheir
PronounSheThey
VerbPlaysPlay

The Plural Forms of Words

The word plural means more than one in number. So, the plural form of the word cat is cats, and the plural form of mouse is mice. (Plural is the opposite of singular.)

The term plural does not just apply to nouns (e.g., cats, mice), it also applies to pronouns (e.g., we, us, they, them), adjectives (e.g., these, their), and verbs (e.g., we play, you sing).

Forming the Plurals of Nouns

In most cases, a noun will form its plural by adding s to the singular form. For example:
  • 1 dog > 2 dogs
  • 1 house > 2 houses
  • 1 video > 2 videos
(Warning: You must not insert your own apostrophe before the s when forming a plural. This is a serious grammar mistake.)

The rules for forming the plurals of nouns are varied, and errors do occur. Here are the rules for:

What Are the Plural Pronouns?

The singular personal pronouns are I, you, he, she, and it. The plural personal pronouns are we, you, and they. (NB: The personal pronoun you can be both singular or plural. That's because you can say you to mean one person or several.)

Here are the personal pronouns in a table with their full names (plural pronouns shaded):

PronounName
Ifirst person singular
Yousecond person singular
He / She / Itthird person singular
Wefirst person plural
Yousecond person plural
Theythird person plural

What Is the Plural Form of a Verb?

The plural form of a verb is the form that fits with a plural subject. Look at these examples (plural forms shaded):

PronounNameExample Verb
Past Tense
Example Verb
Present Tense
Example Verb
Future Tense
Ifirst person singularI ateI eatI will eat
Yousecond person singularYou ate You eat You will eat
He / She / Itthird person singularHe ate He eatsHe will eat
Wefirst person pluralWe ateWe eatWe will eat
Yousecond person pluralYou ateYou eatYou will eat
Theythird person pluralThey ateThey eatThey will eat

The English language is quite unusual because the singular and plural forms of verbs in each tense are identical. The only exception is the third-person-singular form in the present tense (shown in red). This is the main reason why English is easy for foreigners to learn. In many other languages, there would be a different spelling in every single box in the table above.

What Are Plural Demonstrative Adjectives?

The demonstrative adjectives are this, that, these, and those.

The singular ones are this and that. The plural ones are these and those.

This is worth knowing because these and those must be paired with a plural word. In others, you cannot say:
  • These kind of things.
You must say:
  • These kinds of things.

Forming the Plurals of Foreign Words

Words "stolen" from other languages form their plurals in a variety of ways. Examples:
  • stadium > stadia or stadiums
  • (Through common usage, the plural stadiums is acceptable too.)
  • datum > data
  • radius > radii or radiuses
  • (Through common usage, the plural radiuses is acceptable too.)
  • agendum > agenda

See Also

Forming plurals of compound nouns Forming plurals (table) Forming the plurals of abbreviations