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The Plural: Spelling & Pronunciation

Spelling

The plural of a countable noun is usually formed by adding –s to the noun.

singular (= one)

plural (= two or more)

a book

some books

a day

two days

a lovely house

a lot of lovely houses

that boy

those boys

 

Nouns ending in –s, -ss, -sh, -ch, -x or –o take –es in the plural

bus → buses, dress → dresses, dish → dishes, peach → peaches, box → boxes, potato → potatoes

 

BUT some nouns ending in –o take only –s

 

radio → radios, piano → pianos, studio → studios, video → videos, kilo → kilos, rhino → rhinos

 

Nouns ending in a vowel + y take –s in the plural

 

toy → toys, boy → boys

 

BUT nouns ending in a consonant + y drop the –y and take –ies in the plural

 

berry → berries, lady → ladies

 

Nouns ending in –f or –fe drop the –f or –fe and take –ves in the plural

 

loaf → loaves, wife → wives

 

BUT some nouns ending in –f or –fe take only –s

 

roof → roofs, giraffe → giraffes, cliff → cliffs

Pronunciation

The suffix of the plural form is pronounced:

 

/ s / when the noun ends in a / f /, / k /, / p /, / t / or

/ θ / sound

 

roofs, ducks, lamps, skirts, myths

 

/ iz / when the noun ends in a / s /, / ks /, / ʃ /, / tʃ /, / z /, / dʒ /  or / ʒ / sound

 

glasses, boxes, dishes, torches, noses, fridges, mirages

 

/ z / when the noun ends in any other sound

 

girls, dogs, knives, hens, beds

Remember that a number of things are always plural in English.

scissors, glasses, trousers, jeans, shorts, tights, pyjamas

Where are the scissors? I need them.
He never wears jeans to work.
Do you wear glasses?

You can also say a pair of scissors / a pair of trousers / a pair of pyjamas etc. Compare:

These trousers are rather short.
This pair of trousers is rather short.

Irregular nouns

Some plurals do not end in –s.

this man

these men

a woman

some women

a person

a lot of people

a child

three children

one foot

two feet

a tooth

all my teeth

that mouse

those mice

a sheep

a lot of sheep

a fish

some fish

a deer

some deer

an ox

some oxen

He is a friendly person.
They are friendly people.

Remember that «people» is plural (= they), so the verb is also in the plural.

Business people travel a lot.
I like the people here. They are very hospitable.

«Police» is also plural.

The police want to see you.
The police are on the way.

Упражнения

Beginner 

Упражнения на окончания -s и -es у существительных

Elementary 

Упражнения на образование множественного числа существительных

Pre-intermedaite 

Упражнения на существительные 

 

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