Plural of Antenna

by Craig Shrives
The Quick Answer
The plural of antenna is antennas or antennae.

The Plural of Antenna

The plural of antenna is antennas or antennae.
  • Antennas are used for sensing in arthropods.
  • Crustaceans bear two pairs of antennae.
The noun antenna has a Latin root, which is the derivation of the plural antennae. Through common usage, antennas (which adheres to the standard rules for forming plurals) is also now acceptable.

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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 antenna
scythe
add s antennas
scythes
Noun Ending s, sh, ch, x or z box
dress
add es boxes
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 donkey
chimney
add s donkeys
chimneys
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
Foreign rulings antenna
medium
some nouns adopt foreign rulings antennae
media

Why Is There Confusion over the Plural of Antenna?

Confusion arises over the plural of antenna because its original plural form (antennae) derives from Latin and native English speakers are drawn to antennas, which adheres to the standard ruling for forming plurals.

Both antennae and antennas are acceptable, but antennas has become more common plural and the safest option. (See the evidence in Google's Ngram Viewer.)
Another Interactive Exercise
Here are three randomly selected questions from another exercise on plurals, which can be edited, printed to create an exercise worksheet, or sent via email to friends or students.

See Also

Unusual pluralsPlural forming table Quirks with forming plurals Forming the plurals of abbreviations Forming the plurals of compound nouns