How to Form Plural Nouns
If you are a native English speaker, you probably already know how to form plural nouns in English. But just because you know how to form plurals doesn’t mean you can articulate the rules. You can wow your grammar teacher by learning the rules for creating plurals for regular English nouns, but with the irregular nouns, memorization is key.
Regular plural nouns
Plain old garden-variety nouns form plurals by adding the letter s.
Singular nouns that end in s already, as well as singular nouns ending in sh, ch, and x form plurals by adding es.
|George Bush||both George Bushes|
If a noun ends in the letter y, and the letter before the y is a vowel (a, e, i, o, u), just add s.
If the noun ends in y but the letter before the –y is not a vowel, form the plural by changing the y to i and adding es.
|sob story||sob stories|
|unsolvable mystery||unsolvable mysteries|
|a cute little ditty (it means song)||cute little ditties|
|bat-filled belfry||bat-filled belfries|
Never change the spelling of a name when you make it plural. The plural of Sammy is Sammys, not Sammies.
Irregular plural nouns
This topic wouldn’t be any fun without irregulars, now would it? Okay, you’re right. Irregulars are always a pain. Here are some examples of common, irregular plurals.
Listing all the irregular plurals is an impossible task. Check the dictionary for any noun plural that puzzles you.
Hyphenated plural nouns
If you intend to insult your relatives, you may as well do so with the correct plural form. Remember: Form the plural of hyphenated nouns by adding s or es to the important word, not to the add-ons. These words are all plurals:
You may hear references to attorney generals. If you do, call the grammar police. An attorney general is a lawyer, not a military officer. Therefore, attorney is the important part of this title, and it’s a noun. The general is a description — a reference to the rank of the attorney. To form a plural, you deal with the noun, not with the descriptive word. Therefore, you have one attorney general and two or more attorneys general.