1.5 Singulars and Plurals

English count nouns have singular and plural forms. Typically, these nouns are formed by adding –s or –es. Words that end in –ch, –sh, or –s usually require the addition of –es to form the plural. Atypical plurals are formed in various ways, such as those shown in the following table.

Singular Nouns

Plural Nouns

dog

dogs (-s added)

table

tables (-s added)

peach

peaches (-es added)

wish

wishes (-es added)

kiss

kisses (-es added)

man

men (atypical)

sheep

sheep (atypical)

tooth

teeth (atypical)

child

children (atypical)

alumnus

alumni (atypical)

leaf

leaves (atypical)

Proper nouns are typically either singular or plural. Plural proper nouns usually have no singular form, and singular proper nouns usually have no plural form.

Singular Proper Nouns

Plural Proper Nouns

Kentucky

Sawtooth Mountains

Alex

The Everglades

Noncount nouns typically have only one form that is basically a singular form. To quantify them, you can add a preceding phrase.

Noncount Nouns

Sentences with Noncount Nouns and Quantifying Phrases

gas

We put twelve gallons of gas in the car this morning.

anguish

After years of anguish, he finally found happiness.

 


Adapted from Appendix A, “Writing for Nonnative English Speakers” in Writer’s Handbook v 1.0  used according to Creative Commons CC BY-NC-SA 3.0

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