NOUNS: THE FORMATION OF PLURALS

plurals rules

NOUNS: THE FORMATION OF PLURALS

A noun is a word used as the name of a person or a thing. In the following examples, the nouns are underlined.

He opened the parcel. She is a student.
The weather is warm.
A cat is sitting on the steps.

1.Proper nouns

Names of individual persons or things are referred to as proper nouns. In English, proper nouns must begin with a capital letter. The underlined words in the following sentences are proper nouns.

e.g. The capital of England is London. My friend, George, is an American.

2.Countable nouns

Countable nouns are nouns which can form a plural, and which can be preceded by a, an, or a number. In the following examples, the countable nouns are underlined.

e.g. A bus is coming.
You may need an umbrella. Here are two books.
Twenty students are present.

3.The formation of plurals

In general, when a countable noun refers to two or more things, it must be put into the plural. In English, the plural of most countable nouns is formed by adding s. For example:

Singular                                                      Plural

hat                                                              hats
letter                                                          letters
pencil                                                         pencils
student                                                      students

It has already been explained that a verb must agree with its subject. When the subject of a verb is a singular noun, the verb must be in the third person singular. The third person singular is the form of the verb used with the personal pronouns he, she, and it.

When the subject of a verb is a plural noun, the verb must be in the third person plural. The third person plural is the form of the verb used with the personal pronoun they. In the following examples, the verbs are printed in bold type and their subjects are underlined.

Singular Subject: The book is interesting. Plural Subject: The books are interesting.

Singular Subject: A duck was flying overhead. Plural Subject: Two ducks were flying overhead.

Singular Subject: One student lives here. Plural Subject: Three students live here.

a.Nouns ending in ch, s, sh, x or z

For nouns ending in ch, s, sh, x or z, the plural is formed by adding es. The reason for this is that these words would be difficult to pronounce if only s were added. The ending es is pronounced as a separate syllable. For example:

Singular; branch, match

Plural;  branches, matches

b.Nouns ending in y

Nouns ending in y preceded by a consonant usually form the plural by changing the y to

i and adding es. For example:

Singular                                                        Plural
candy                                                            candies
city                                                               cities
lady                                                              ladies
story                                                             stories

c.Plurals of proper nouns

Proper nouns form plurals following the rules given above, except that proper nouns ending in y always form the plural simply by adding s, even when the y is preceded by a consonant. For example:

Singular                                                      Plural
Jill                                                               Jills
Tom                                                            Toms

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