Objectives

By the end of this lesson, you will be able to:

  1. distinguish  between regular and irregular  nouns
  2. say and write the plural forms of given regular  nouns
  3. say and write the plural forms of given irregular  nouns
  4. use regular  and irregular  nouns in sentences of your own

What are regular nouns?

Regular nouns are those  nouns that form their plural by adding ‘s’ or ‘es’ to the singular form.  I guess one thought  that will be running  through  your mind  is: when do we add ‘s’ to the singular to form the plural? And when do we add ‘es’

The  thing  is  that  even  for  regular nouns,  some rules will have to  be followed  in forming their plurals.

1.   The  plural of most  regular  nouns  are  formed  by  adding  s’ to  the singular form.

For example:

Singular                      Plural

bird                 –          birds

ball                 –          balls

dog                  –          dogs

house              –          houses.

2.   The  plural of nouns ending in s,  x,  z,  ch  or sh  is formed  by adding  ‘es’  to  the singular  form.  For example:

Singular                      Plural

class                –          classes

box                  –          boxes

church             –          churches

ash                  –          ashes

buzz                –          buzzes.

3.   The plural of a noun ending in ‘o’  preceded by a vowel sound is formed by adding s’ to the singular  form.   For example: 

Singular                      Plural 

radio               –          radios

 patio               –          patios

 igloo                –          igloos.

4.   The plural of a noun ending in ‘y‘ preceded by a vowel sound is formed regularly by adding ‘s’ to the singular  form. For example:

 Singular                      Plural 

tray                 –          trays

bay                  –          bays

donkey            –          donkeys

monkey           –          monkeys

boy                  –          boys

 guy                  –          guys.

5.   The  plural of a  noun  ending  in  y  preceded  by  a  consonant  sound  is formed  by changing  the to ‘-ie’ before adding the plural marker „-s.  For example:

Singular         Y-Change           Add ‘-s’                Plural Form

babybabie+s=babies
berry courtesyberrie courtesie+s +s= =berries courtesies
energyenergie+s=energies
flyflie+s=flies

6.   Most nouns ending in f”  or “fe” form their plurals by adding „-s‟  to the singular form.  For example:

Singular                      Plural 

waif                             waifs

 fife                  –          fifes

 proof               –          proofs

 roof                 –          roofs

 dwarf              –          dwarfs

wharf              –          wharfs (or wharves)

7.   The plurals of proper nouns are formed  by adding ‘-s’ to  the singular form.   For example:

Singular                      Plural

Mensah           –          the Mensahs (members of the Mensah family) 

John                –          the Johns (a number of people called John)

Mr Sarpong    –          the Sarpongs

Ben Tawiah    –          the Tawiahs

Try to form sentences with the plural forms.

  1.  The Mensahs live in Koforidua.
  2. There are five Johns in our class.
  3. This mansion belongs to the Sarpongs.
  4. Here comes the Tawiahs.

What are irregular nouns?

These are nouns that form their plurals in an irregular way; they do not add „-s‟ or „-es‟ to the singular  form.  There are several categories of such irregular  plurals.

  1. Nouns that end in ‘o’ preceded by a consonant sound form their plurals by adding ‘-s’ to  the  singular  form whilst  others  add  ‘-es’ to  the singular form.  First,  look  at those that add s‟: 

Singular                      Plural 

albino              –          albinos

alto                 –          altos 

banjo              –          banjos

 piano               –          pianos

 photo              –          photos

 tango              –          tangos

Here are those that form their plural by adding ‘-es’ to the singular form.

Singular                      Plural

echo                –          echoes

hero                –          heroes

mosquito         –          mosquitoes

potato             –          potatoes

tomato            –          tomatoes

torpedo           –          torpedoes

 veto                 –          vetoes

We refer to these as irregular because, as you can see, some form the plural by adding ‘-s’; others form their plural by adding ‘-es’.

2.   There is a group of nouns ending in ‘o’ and preceded by a consonant sound that form the plural in two ways by adding ‘-s’ or ‘-es’ to the singular. For example, the plural of the noun zero is formed in two ways. You may choose to add only ‘-s’ to the singular form or may choose to add ‘-es’ to the singular  form. Look at the example  below:

  1. My telephone number contains three zeros.
  2. How many zeroes are in your telephone number?

Observe that both forms are correct. Here are other nouns whose plurals are formed in two ways by adding ‘-s’ or ‘-es’ to the singular..

mango –          mangos or      mangoes

motto  –          mottos or        mottoes.

 halo     –          halos   or        haloes 

lasso    –          lassos  or        lassoes

3.   Some nouns form their plurals  by changing  a vowel sound.  For example:

man     –          men

 foot     –          feet 

tooth   –          teeth 

mouse –          mice 

louse   –          lice 

goose  –          geese

4.   Other nouns form their plurals  by adding „en’ to the singular  form.  For example:

child    –          children 

ox        –          oxen

Summary 

You have learnt that:

  1.  for  both  regular  and  irregular  nouns,  some  rules  will  have  to  be  followed  in forming  their plurals.
  2. the plural of most regular nouns are formed by adding „-s’  to the singular form but for nouns ending in s, x, z, ch or sh their plurals are formed by adding „-es’ to the singular  form.
  3. there are three ways by which nouns ending in ‘o’ and  preceded  by a consonant sound  form their  plurals.  Some add  „-s‟,  some add „-es‟,  whilst others form their plural in two different  ways by adding ‘-s’ or „-es’ to the singular.
  4. Some  irregular  nouns  form their  plurals  by  changing  a  vowel sound  while  others form their plurals  by adding ‘-en’ to the singular  form.

CONTENT CONSULTANTS

Author

John Tetteh Agor, Ph.D.

Peer Reviewers

Modestus Fosu, Ph.D.

 Prosper Kwesi Agordjor, M.Phil.

 William  Foli Garr, (Rev.) M.Phil.