Plural of Igloo

by Craig Shrives
The Quick Answer
The plural of igloo is igloos.

The Plural of Igloo

The plural of igloo is igloos.
  • Igloos gradually become shorter with time due to the compressive creep of the snow.
  • Due to snow's excellent insulating properties, inhabited igloos are surprisingly warm inside.
The noun igloo 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 igloo
tomato
add either s or es
(There are no rules for this - you have to know.)
igloos
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 Igloo?

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:
  • Cello becomes cellos.
  • Piano becomes pianos.
Some add es. For example:
  • Echo becomes echoes.
  • Embargo becomes embargoes.
With some words, both versions are accepted. For example:
  • Volcano becomes volcanoes or volcanos.
  • Mosquito becomes mosquitoes or mosquitos.
The plural of igloo is always igloos. 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 igloo becomes igloos, but torpedo becomes torpedoes.)

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