Plural of Cello

The Quick Answer

The plural of "cello" is "cellos."

The Plural of Cello

The plural of "cello" is "cellos."
  • Cellos are a critical part of orchestral music. correct tick
  • The back of a cello is traditionally hand-carved, but less expensive cellos are often machine-produced. correct tick
The noun "cello" adheres to the standard rules for forming the plurals of nouns in English (shown in the table below).

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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 lamp
scythe
add s lamps
scythes
Noun Ending s, sh, ch, x or z bus
dress
add es buses
dresses
Nouns ending [consonant] o cello
tomato
add either s or es
(There are no rules for this - you have to know.)
cellos
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 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
Read more about English spelling rules.

Why Is There Confusion over the Plural of Cello?

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:
  • "Hero" becomes "heroes."
  • "Torpedo" becomes "torpedoes."
With some words, both versions are accepted. For example:
  • "Buffalo" becomes "buffaloes" or "buffalos."
  • "Halo" becomes "haloes" or "halos."
The plural of "cello" is always "cellos." 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 "cello" becomes "cellos," but "hero" becomes "heroes.")

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:
  • Young kangaroo's are called joeys. wrong cross
  • Young kangaroos are called joeys. correct tick
Read more about apostrophes and plurals.
Read more about using apostrophes.
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This page was written by Craig Shrives.