The main pattern (or rule) says that all you have to do is to add an ‘s’ to the end of the noun:
Most words (nouns) in the English Language follow this pattern. Just keep that in mind “to form the plural of nouns in English all I need is an ‘s’“.
However, some words need special attention. These are words (nouns) that end with ‘s‘, ‘sh‘, ‘z‘, ‘x‘ and ‘ch‘. Actually, the real tip is not the way they are spelt, but the way they are pronounced. Thus, the rule should be nouns that end with a hissing (sibilant) sound (s, sh, z, x, ch) add -es to form the plural:
Pay also attention to words that end with a consonant + y. In this case, you have to take the ‘y‘ out of the word and add ‘ies‘. But remember: only to words that end in a sequence of consonant + y. Take a look:
Even though there are these patterns (rules) to form the plural of nouns in the English Language, the real best thing is to have a very good dictionary at hand. So, when in doubt, you look up the word in the dictionary to check its plural form.
For example, say that you are not sure about the plural form of “probability“. Then, you go to Meriam-Webster Online Dictionary and type the word there. When you get the result for your search, you get the following information:
Notice that you have the plural form of the word in there. In my opinion, it’s way better to check a dictionary than trying to memorize rules and their exceptions.
When the basic pattern is not followed we have what is called Irregular Plural Form. Wanna read about it, so click here!
by Denilso de Lima – ELT Professional, Freelance Teacher Trainer, Book Author and Freelance Researcher, home-based in Curitiba, Paraná, Brazil.
Profissional da Área de Ensino da Língua Inglesa. Palestrante. Autor. Pesquisador. Teacher Trainer. Responsável pelo Inglês na Ponta da Língua (blog, fanpage, cursos). Mais de 15 anos atuando na área de ensino de inglês e 7 na área de formação de professores de língua inglesa.