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 Search English Spelling 11-14 Key Stage 3

Plurals

Singular means one of something.

Plural means more than one.


The rules for making plurals

1. We usually form plurals by adding -s.

dragon

--->

dragons

computer

--->

computers


2. Add -es to make the plural of words ending in -s, -x,
-ch, -sh, -ss, -zz.

bus

--->

buses

box

--->

boxes

church

--->

churches

bush

--->

bushes

glass

--->

glasses

buzz

--->

buzzes


Note

stomach

--->

stomachs

quiz

--->

quizzes

bus

3. Words ending in -o: some take just -s, some take -es to form the plural.

Examples of -s

piano

--->

pianos

photo

--->

photos

radio

--->

radios

cuckoo

--->

cuckoos

zoo

--->

zoos


Examples of -es

halo

--->

haloes

potato

--->

potatoes

tomato

--->

tomatoes

echo

--->

echoes

hero

--->

heroes

potatoes

4. Words ending in -y.

If there is a vowel before the y, just add -s.

toy

--->

toys

boy

--->

boys

donkey

--->

donkeys


If there is a consonant before the y, change the y to i and add -es.

baby

--->

babies

bully

--->

bullies

lady

--->

ladies


5. Words ending in -fe and -f.

Words ending in -ff add an s.

cliff

--->

cliffs


Some words ending in -f need just an s.

chief

--->

chiefs

belief

--->

beliefs

roof

--->

roofs



Some words form the plural by changing the f to v and adding es.

wife

--->

wives

knife

--->

knives

life

--->

lives

shelf

--->

shelves

half

--->

halves

thief

--->

thieves


A few words can take either form.

scarf

--->

scarfs

or

scarves

hoof

--->

hoofs

or

hooves

dwarf

--->

dwarfs

or

dwarves


thief

6. Irregular plurals

You should recognise these forms.

child

--->

children

woman

--->

women

mouse

--->

mice

goose

--->

geese

tooth

--->

teeth


7. Foreign words

Some keep their original plural form.

crisis

--->

crises

phenomenon

--->

phenomena

larva

--->

larvae

stimulus

--->

stimuli


Some forms are being 'modernised'.

cactus

--->

cacti/cactuses

octopus

--->

octopuses

hippopotamus

--->

hippopotamuses


8. Words which remain the same.

Some words do not change at all.

sheep

--->

sheep

deer

--->

deer

fish

--->

fish or fishes

salmon

--->

salmon


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