Do & Make

Irregular Plural Nouns

Published on: 01/07/2019 By
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Learning to use most plural nouns in English is fairly easy. But unfortunately, some common plural nouns in English are irregular. What are these irregular plural nouns, and how can you remember them? Read on to find out!

 


 

Regular Plural Nouns

The majority of nouns in English follow the same rule to create plural nouns, and that is to add -s. For example,

A pen / Some pens

A student / Some students

This is true for all words except words that end in -ch, -sh, -s, -ss, -x, -z, and -o. With these words, we add -es. For example,

A watch / Some watches

A tomato / Some tomatoes

And when a word ends in -y, you change the -y to -i and add -es. For example,

A city / Some cities

A lady / Some ladies

Irregular Plural Nouns

There are some plural nouns that don’t follow the rule above of using -s. Here are the irregular plural nouns you need to know.

People

  • Children (plural of child). “There are some children playing in the park.”
  • Women (plural of woman), pronounced /’wi min/. “Two of our top managers are women.”
  • Men (plural of man). “The changing room for the men is over there.”
  • People (plural of person). “There are over 7.5 billion people in the world.”

Body

  • Teeth (plural of tooth). “He has perfect teeth. He never has to go to the dentist.”
  • Feet (plural of foot). “You walk and run with your feet.”

Animals

The following animals have the same plural form as the singular form:

  • Fish (one fish, two fish)
  • Sheep
  • Deer
  • Shrimp
  • Tuna
  • Swine
  • Species

While some plural nouns for animals change significantly:

  • A mouse / Some mice
  • A goose / Some geese
  • An ox / Some oxen

Words ending in -f

Words that end in -f or -fe change the -f to -v before adding -es. For example,

  • A life – Some lives
  • A knife – Some knives
  • A leaf – Some leaves
  • A wife – Some wives
  • A calf – Some calves
  • A loaf – Some loaves
  • A scarf – Some scarves

Words ending in -is

Words that end in -is usually change to -es. For example,

  • A hypothesis / Some hypotheses
  • A crisis / Some crises
  • An analysis / Some analyses
  • A thesis / Some theses

Plural Words ending in -a

The following are all common irregular plural words that end in -a:

  • Data
  • Criteria
  • Phenomena
  • Media
  • Bacteria
  • Curricula

There are clearly a lot of new words here for you to learn and remember, and you can’t memorize them all at the same time. At Wall Street English, our method allows students to learn all these irregular plural words gradually throughout the course, starting with the most important ones.

Whenever you meet a new irregular plural noun, make a note of it and write your own short example, or even draw a simple picture if it helps! The important thing is to do something that will help make the word stick in your mind.

Start by focusing on the very common plurals – men, women, children and people.

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Mary Milne avatar

Mary Milne

Author of this post

Mary Milne has worked for Wall Street English for 20 years. After studying at the University of Bristol and subsequently doing a CELTA course, she began her career in teaching. Over the years she has gained a wealth of knowledge and experience in ESL and has worked as an Online Community Manager, and author for Wall Street English International and Pearson, writing informative educational content. She dedicates most of her free time to music, playing in a band and singing in a choir.

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