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Singular and Plural Nouns

Regular nouns

The most common way to pluralise a singular noun is to add -s to the end. For example:

Singular Plural
Dog Dogs
Face Faces
Home Homes
Train Trains

However, if the noun ends in s, x, z, ch, or sh, you pluralise by adding -es to the end. For example:

Singular Plural
Witch Witches
Tax Taxes
Size Sizes
Bus Buses

Singular nouns ending in consonant+y can be pluralised by using -ies. For example:

Singular Plural
Sky Skies
City Cities
Berry Berries
Story Stories

Irregular nouns

Unfortunately, there are no convenient rules for learning pluralisation for irregular nouns. Instead, they must simply be memorised. Here are some examples:

Singular Plural
Cactus Cacti
Woman Women
Analysis Analyses
Loaf Loaves
Mouse Mice
Moose Moose
Tooth Teeth
Child Children
Potato Potatoes
Person People

Some nouns are the same for the singular and the plural. For example: moose, deer, species, sheep.

Irregular verb/noun agreement

Some nouns are pluralised, but they take on the singular form in a sentence. This is usually because they are plural but they form a singular concept or entity.

Take the news, for example:

The news is on at 6.

It is plural as in multiple news items; however, it forms one TV programme, ‘the news’. It makes more sense if you think of it in terms of the ‘programme’ being singular, and the main topic of the sentence. It would sound awkward to say ‘the news are on’, even if it seems more grammatically correct.

Let’s look at another example:

10 kilometres is a pretty good distance considering you’re not keen on running.

The person being addressed has run multiple kilometres; however, their efforts form a distance. The distance is the underlying topic, and it is singular. So it wouldn’t be correct to say ‘[the distance] are a pretty good distance’.

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