Plural and singular spelling rules are commonly tested in 11 plus exams.
A singular noun names one person, place, thing or idea. A plural noun is used when there more than one person, place, thing or idea.
There are a number of spelling rules that are followed when changing a singular noun into a plural noun and there are also many exceptions to these rules (irregular nouns) – the spellings of these must instead be learnt.
A) Many words can be made plural by putting an ‘s‘ at the end of the word.
e.g. cats, tables, pencils, windows, gardens, chairs
B) Words ending with a ‘s’, ‘ss’, ‘sh’, ‘ch’, ‘x’ or ‘z‘ have ‘es‘ added to the end of the word to make a plural.
e.g. viruses, mosses, squashes, churches, boxes, waltzes
C) Most that end with ‘f’ or ‘fe’ have the ‘f’ or ‘fe’ taken on and ‘ves‘ added to the end of the word. Note that there are a number of exceptions to this rule.
e.g. with the rule applied: leaves, shelves, halves, loaves, ourselves, calves, lives, wives
e.g. exceptions to the rule: chefs, chiefs, roofs, beliefs, gulfs, safes, proofs, cliffs
D) Words that end with a vowel and then a ‘y’ just have an ‘s‘ added to make a plural.
e.g. days, plays, valleys, toys, boys
E) Words that end with consonant and then a ‘y’ have the ‘y’ taken off and replaced by ‘ies‘.
e.g. fairies, hobbies, jellies, batteries, cities, puppies, stories, ladies, daisies
F) Most words ending with an ‘o’ preceded by a consonant have an ‘es‘ added to make a plural. Other words ending with an ‘o’ can just be made plural by adding an ‘s’.
e.g. with the rule applied: potatoes, tomatoes, echoes, heroes, zeroes
e.g. exceptions to the rule: ratios, photos, infernos, discos, casinos, halos
G) Words that end in ‘us’ often have this changed to ‘i‘ to make a plural.
e.g. fungi, cacti, nuclei
H) Most words that end in ‘is’ are made plural by changing the ‘is to’ ‘es‘
e.g. crises, axes, ellipses, oases, diagnoses
I) Some words that end in ‘ix’ or ‘ex‘ are made plural by changing the ‘ix’ or ‘ex’ to ‘ices‘.
e.g. indices, matrices, vertices
J) Some words do not change their spellings for plurals and the same spelling is used for singular and plural nouns. These are known as ‘uncountable nouns‘.
e.g. deer, moose, sheep, series, species, aircraft
Adding ‘es’ to make a plural
Making a plural for words ending in’o’