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Irregular plural nouns

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  • In English, there are hundreds of nouns that don’t follow the standard rules for pluralization. There are no easy ways to remember them, so they generally have to be memorized.

    Some of the rarer irregular plurals are often misused, leading to the creation of variant forms, which usually encounter resistance at first but eventually make it into the language. For example, the plural of formula has traditionally been formulae, but formulas is now far more common, and few would call it incorrect.

    Latinate plurals

    Some nouns have retained their plural forms from Latin and other languages:

    singularplural
    addendumaddenda
    algaalgae
    alumnusalumni
    amoebaamoebae
    antennaantennae
    bacteriumbacteria
    cactuscacti
    curriculumcurricula
    datumdata
    fungusfungi
    genusgenera
    larvalarvae
    memorandummemoranda
    stimulusstimuli
    syllabussyllabi
    vertebravertebrae

    -o becoming –oes

    Most nouns ending in –o are pluralized by adding an –s, but some take –es instead—for example:

    singularplural
    echoechoes
    embargoembargoes
    heroheroes
    potatopotatoes
    tomatotomatoes
    torpedotorpedoes
    vetovetoes

    Changing vowel sounds

    Some nouns change their central vowel sounds when pluralized—for example:

    singularplural
    footfeet
    goosegeese
    louselice
    manmen
    mousemice
    toothteeth
    womanwomen

    -f becoming –ves

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    Some nouns ending in –f are pluralized by dropping the –f and adding –ves:

    singularplural
    calfcalves
    elfelves
    halfhalves
    hoofhooves
    knifeknives
    leafleaves
    lifelives
    loafloaves
    selfselves
    shelfshelves
    thiefthieves
    wifewives
    wolfwolves

    -is becoming –es

    Some nouns ending in –is are pluralized by dropping the –is and adding –es:

    singularplural
    axisaxes
    analysisanalyses
    basisbases
    crisiscrises
    diagnosisdiagnoses
    ellipsisellipses
    emphasisemphases
    hypothesishypotheses
    neurosisneuroses
    oasisoases
    paralysisparalyses
    parenthesisparentheses
    thesistheses

    -ix becoming –ices

    Some nouns ending in –ix are pluralized by dropping the –ix and adding –ices:

    singularplural
    appendixappendices
    indexindices
    matrixmatrices

    Unchanged plurals

    A few nouns are unchanged in their plural forms:

    singularplural
    barracksbarracks
    deerdeer
    fishfish
    gallowsgallows
    meansmeans
    offspringoffspring
    seriesseries
    sheepsheep
    speciesspecies
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    Comments

    1. Someone says:

      Thank you
      so much

    2. Kath Cruz Adong says:

      its so helpful

      =kath=

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    8. Renzzo Everdeen says:

      thank you so much :)

    9. disqus_rZhQsk2w1O says:

      I’ve graduated high school roughly 5 years ago and went to catholic school growing up, which was very strict about grammar/spelling. This page, and your site in general, is an amazing help to jog back memories about how certain endings change and which wording you’d correctly use to make a sentence proper. Thank you, this was very easy to comprehend! Keep up the great work, I’m glad to see the kids commenting here are actually gaining from this too! Truly wonderful.

    10. Unniccahoriqk says:

      Thankyouuu (Y)

    11. cutebitch says:

      Its motherfucking goood!!!!!

    12. kelly kelly says:

      you all are a ass hole

    13. Cog.xNight says:

      How did I get here…?..
      ._.

    14. Sorry, just one question. I don’t see person, child and some other irregular nouns. What happened to them? :D

    15. I.. always use the “sheeps” as a plural word.
      I have.. been enlightened.

    16. David Adrian Dieguez says:

      Thanks for the post¡¡ I need a study english

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