Forming Plurals in English (with Table of Endings)

by Craig Shrives

Forming Plurals

Most nouns are made plural by adding s to the end. However, there are many other ways to form plurals, depending on the ending of the word. Here is a table showing the rules for forming the plurals 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 dress add es 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 dwarf
hoof
ves and/or s
(There are no rules - you have to know.)
dwarfs
hooves or hoofs
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

Are You Good at Plurals?

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

Words Taken from Foreign Languages

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

Interactive Exercise
Here are three randomly selected questions from a larger exercise, which can be edited, printed to create an exercise worksheet, or sent via email to friends or students.

See Also

List of unusual plurals Quirks with forming plurals Forming the plurals of abbreviations Forming the plurals of compound nouns Another test on forming plurals (Key Stage 1 style)