Plural of Loaf

by Craig Shrives

The Quick Answer

The plural of "loaf" is "loaves."

The Plural of Loaf

The plural of "loaf" is "loaves."
  • Only a century ago, a typical Frenchman ate approximately 3 loaves of bread per day. correct tick
  • A wheat crop will produce an average of 7.5 tonnes of grain per hectare that's enough to make 11,500 loaves of bread. correct tick
The noun "loaf" adheres to the standard rules for forming the plurals of nouns in English (shown in the table below).

Table of Contents

  • Are You Good at Plurals?
  • The Standard Rules for Forming the Plurals
  • Why Is There Confusion over the Plural of Loaf?
  • Ready for the Test?
plural of loaf

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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 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 (small British flag)
donkey
add s storeys
donkeys
Nouns ending f or fe dwarf
loaf
ves and/or s
(There are no rules - you have to know.)
dwarfs
loaves
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 Loaf?

There is confusion because the rule for forming plurals with nouns ending in "f" or "fe" isn't straightforward. Most nouns will drop the "f" or "fe" and gain a "ves." For example:
  • "Knife" becomes "knives."
  • "Leaf" becomes "leaves."
Some just add s. For example:
  • "Safe" becomes "safes."
  • "Chief" becomes "chiefs."
With some words, both versions are accepted. For example:
  • "Scarf" becomes "scarfs" or "scarves."
  • "Dwarf" becomes "dwarfs" or "dwarves."
The plural of "loaf" is always "loaves." Unfortunately, there is no clever way of knowing which nouns ending "f" or "fe" follow which rules. You have to know. (For example, you have to know that "loaf" becomes "loaves," but "belief" becomes "beliefs.")

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