Plural of Nebula
The Quick AnswerThe plural of nebula is nebulae or nebulas.
The Plural of nebulaThe plural of nebula is nebulae. The alternative plural nebulas is rare but still acceptable.
- Most nebulae are of vast size; some are hundreds of light-years in diameter. (Nebulae is the most accepted plural.)
- In 1715, Edmond Halley published a list of six nebulas. (Nebulas is less common but still correct.)
Are You Good at Plurals?Here's a quick test.
The Standard Rules for Forming the PluralsThe table below shows the standard rules for forming the plurals of nouns in English.
|Type||Example of Type||Forming the Plural||Plural|
|Most Nouns|| nebula
|add s|| nebulas
|Noun Ending s, sh, ch, x or z|| box
|add es|| boxes
|Nouns ending [consonant] o|| hero
|add either s or es
(There are no rules for this - you have to know.)
|Nouns ending [vowel] o|| patio
|add s|| patios
|Nouns ending [consonant] y|| story
|change the y to an i and add es|| stories
|Nouns ending [vowel] y|| donkey
|add s|| donkeys
|Nouns ending f or fe|| dwarf
|ves and/or s
(There are no rules - you have to know.)
hooves or hoofs
|some nouns undergo a vowel or letters change|| men
|More exceptions|| salmon
|some nouns do not change at all|| salmon
|Foreign rulings|| nebula
|some nouns adopt foreign rulings|| nebulae
Why Is There Confusion over the Plural of Nebula?Confusion arises over the plural of nebula because its original plural form (nebulae) derives from Greek and native English speakers are drawn to nebulas, which adheres to the standard ruling for forming plurals.
Nebulae is by far the more common plural of the two. (See the difference in Google's Ngram Viewer.)