What is a Plural Noun? Rules, Types and Examples

In the English language, nouns are divided into singular and plural nouns based on their number. This division is applicable only to common nouns as all proper nouns refer to a particular place or person; in fact, that is why they are called proper nouns. Read on to learn about plural nouns, their definitions, rules and examples in detail.

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Definition of a Plural Noun

The word plural is defined as ‘relating to or constituting a class of grammatical forms usually used to denote more than one or in some languages more than two’ and ‘relating to, consisting of, or containing more than one or more than one kind or class’, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary. So a noun that consists or relates to more than one person, place or thing can be defined as a plural noun.

Changing a Singular Noun to a Plural Noun

A common noun can be made plural by adding an ‘s’, ‘es’, ‘ies’, ‘ves’; by changing ‘us’ to ‘i’, ‘is’ to ‘es’, ‘on’ to ‘a’ and so on. There are some common nouns that remain the same in the singular and plural forms. A few others do not fall under any other category of plural nouns. They are termed irregular nouns. These common nouns can be made plural by a change in the spelling or by the addition of a suffix to the root word.

Check out the following examples of plural nouns for a better understanding.

Examples:

    • Adding ‘s’
      • Dog – dogs
      • Pen – pens
      • Chair – chairs
    • Adding ‘es’
      • Box – boxes
      • Tax – taxes
      • Bus – buses
    • Adding ‘ves’ for nouns ending with an ‘f’ or ‘fe’
      • Wolf – wolves
      • Calf – calves
      • Knife – knives
      • Wife – wives
    • Adding ‘es’ to nouns ending with an ‘o’
      • Mango – mangoes
      • Potato – potatoes
      • Tomato – tomatoes
      • Mosquito – mosquitoes
      • Volcano – volcanoes
    • Adding ‘ies’ to words ending with a ‘y’ preceded by a consonant
      • City – cities
      • Strawberry – strawberries
      • Puppy – puppies
    • Adding ‘s’ to words ending with a ‘y’ preceded by a vowel
      • Ray – rays
      • Toy – toys
      • Boy – boys
    • Changing ‘us’ to ‘i’
      • Alumnus – alumni
      • Syllabus – syllabi
      • Cactus – cacti
      • Fungus – fungi
      • Nucleus – nuclei
    • Changing ‘is’ to ‘es’
      • Crisis – crises
      • Analysis – analyses
      • Diagnosis – diagnoses
      • Thesis – theses
    • Changing ‘on’ to ‘a’
      • Criterion – criteria
      • Phenomenon – phenomena
    • Nouns with a common singular and plural form
      • News – news
      • Scissors – scissors
      • Furniture – furniture
      • Deer – deer
      • Fish – fish
      • Police – police
      • Sheep – sheep
    • Irregular nouns
      • Man – men
      • Woman – women
      • Ox – oxen
      • Goose – geese
      • Child – children
      • Tooth – teeth
      • Foot – feet
      • Mouse – mice
    • Plural form for hyphenated nouns and relationships
      • Mother-in-law – Mothers-in-law
      • Father-in-law – Fathers-in-law
      • Brother-in-law – Brothers-in-law
      • Daughter-in-law – Daughters-in-law
      • Son-in-law – Sons-in-law
      • Grandmother – grandmothers
      • Grandfather – grandfathers
      • Grandson – grandsons
      • Granddaughter – granddaughters
      • Cousin – cousins
      • Brother – brothers
      • Sister – sisters
      • Uncle – uncles
      • Aunty – Aunties
      • Aunt – Aunts

Plural Noun Examples

  • Plural noun of child – children
  • Plural noun of fox – foxes
  • Plural noun of loaf – loaves
  • Plural noun of ship – ships
  • Plural noun of school – schools
  • Plural noun of door – doors
  • Plural noun of sister-in-law – sisters-in-law
  • Plural form of baby – babies

The Golden Rule of Using Plural Nouns in Sentences – Subject-Verb Agreement

When using plural nouns, take care to change the verb accordingly so that the sentences do not look grammatically incorrect. The verbs forms used along with a plural noun include, are (simple present tense), were (simple past tense), are+verb+ing, were+verb+ing, have+past participle, have+been+past participle, will+have+verb+ing and will+have+past participle.

Examples:

  • None of the students has completed their homework. (Group of people)
  • All the rescued animals have been returned to their natural habitats safely. (Group of different animals)
  • The textbooks and notebooks are kept on the shelves. (Objects)
  • All schools in the city are shut down due to the political protests carried out in and around the city.

Plural Nouns and Tense Forms

Here are some examples to show you how everyday nouns can be used in different tense forms.

Please note that the words in bold are the plural nouns and the words in italics are the appropriate tense forms.

S. No. Tense Plural Form
1 Simple Present Tense
  • These cars are wonderful.
  • All the broken doors are fixed.
2 Present Continuous Tense
  • The children are playing cricket in front of our house.
  • The teachers are attending a meeting now.
3 Present Perfect Tense
  • The students have been asked to submit their assignments before 9 a.m. on Tuesday.
  • The dogs from the street have been rescued and put in adoption centres.
4 Present Perfect Continuous Tense
  • The college students have been waiting for an industrial visit for so many months now.
  • All the employees have been doing the job really well.
5 Simple Past Tense
  • The teachers were late for class.
  • The meetings for the day were cancelled due to the commotion in the building.
6 Past Continuous Tense
  • All the residents were being evacuated.
  • The rivers in the area were overflowing due to the heavy rainfall yesterday.
7 Past Perfect Tense (remains the same for singular and plural nouns)
  • The police had been on the hunt for these robbers for a month now.
  • The shops had been closed because of the protest.
8 Past Perfect Continuous Tense (remains the same for singular and plural nouns)
  • The people had been waiting for this for so many years.
  • The scientists had been working day and night to find a cure for COVID – 19.
9 Simple Future Tense (remains the same for singular and plural nouns)
  • The meteors will hit the Earth’s surface.
  • These birds will migrate to the North during the Summer.
10 Future Continuous Tense

(remains the same for singular and plural nouns)

  • The singers will be performing at a live concert next week.
  • The accessories for the event will be arriving on Tuesday.
11 Future Perfect Tense

(remains the same for singular and plural nouns)

  • The politicians will have taken their oaths by this time tomorrow.
  • The newspapers will have circulated by the time you decide what to do with this article.
12 Future Perfect Continuous Tense

(remains the same for singular and plural nouns)

  • This Thursday, we will have been living in New York for a year.
  • On this annual day, the children will have been performing this piece for the tenth time.

Test Your Knowledge

Change the highlighted nouns in the following sentences into the plural form and use the appropriate form of the verb:

  1. That girl plays the piano.
  2. I bought a mango.
  3. The teacher will be here in a few minutes.
  4. The scholar has been working on the thesis for five months now.
  5. Teena brought home a puppy.
  6. The boy was playing cricket.
  7. The cat was adopted.
  8. Sadie had an orange for breakfast.
  9. Dave picked up a flower for his mom.
  10. Tom likes having fruit for dinner.

Check your answers here:

  1. Those girls play the piano.
  2. I bought some mangoes.
  3. The teachers will be here in a few minutes.
  4. The scholars have been working on the thesis for five minutes now.
  5. Teena brought home puppies.
  6. The boys were playing cricket.
  7. The cats were adopted.
  8. Sadie had oranges for breakfast.
  9. Dave picked up flowers for his mom.
  10. Tom likes having fruits for dinner.

Frequently Asked Questions on Plural Nouns

What is a plural noun?

A noun that consists or relates to more than one person, place or thing can be defined as a plural noun.

How can I change a singular noun into a plural noun?

You can change a singular noun into plural nouns by adding an ‘s’, ‘es’, ‘ies’, ‘ves’, by changing the spelling or by adding a suffix.

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