Plural of Halo

by Craig Shrives
The Quick Answer
The plural of halo is halos or haloes.

The Plural of Halo

The plural of halo is halos or haloes.
  • Halos are most often depicted as golden, yellow, white, or red when flames are depicted.
  • Plain round haloes are typically used to signify saints.
The noun halo 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 halo
zero
tomato
add either s or es
(There are no rules for this - you have to know.)
halos or haloes
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
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

Why Is There Confusion over the Plural of Halo?

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:
  • Kangaroo becomes kangaroos.
  • Piano becomes pianos.
Some add es. For example:
  • Embargo becomes embargoes.
  • Torpedo becomes torpedoes.
With some words, both versions are accepted. For example:
  • Volcano becomes volcanoes or volcanos.
  • Echo becomes echoes or echos.
The plural of halo can be either halos or haloes. 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 solo becomes solos, but tomatos becomes tomatoes.)

Though halos and haloes are both accepted plurals, halos is the more common of the two. (See the difference 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