English grammar

Module 1, Nouns, Lesson 4:

Singular and Plural Nouns 2

English grammar

In this lesson you will learn the rest of the rules for spelling plural nouns.

Rule Examples
Nouns that end in vowel + y Add s to form the plural. donkey ⇒ donkeys
highway ⇒ highways
Nouns that end in vowel + o Add s to form the plural. oreo ⇒ oreos
scenario ⇒ scenarios
Nouns that end in consonant + y Change the y to i and add es to form the plural. family ⇒ families
trophy ⇒ trophies
Nouns that end in consonant + o Easy rule:
Usually add es except for musical terms.

Complicated rule:
Some nouns that end in consonant + o add es. Many can be spelled either way. Look in the dictionary if you want to be sure.

These nouns always add es: potato, tomato, hero, echo, banjo, embargo, veto, torpedo.

Here are the preferred spellings of some plural nouns: buffaloes, dominoes, mosquitoes, volcanoes, tornadoes, ghettos, mangos, mottos, cargos, halos, mementos.
Regular examples:
potato ⇒ potatoes
dingo ⇒ dingoes
piano ⇒ pianos
soprano ⇒ sopranos

The chart below explains some exceptions to the rules.

Exceptions Examples
Words from foreign languages, including musical terms Simply add s. taco ⇒ tacos
kimono ⇒ kimonos
aria ⇒ arias
Words that are proper nouns Simply add s. Eskimo ⇒ Eskimos
Picasso ⇒ Picassos
Words that are short forms of longer words Simply add s. photo (photograph) ⇒ photos
kilo (kilogram) ⇒ kilos
memo (memorandum) ⇒ memos
Hint: If a musical term or proper noun ends in s still add es. chorus ⇒ choruses
Jones ⇒ Joneses
Are you confused yet? The easiest way to handle the plural nouns in this lesson is to remember a few shortcuts:
  • Memorize the short list of words that must end in es.
  • Add es to words that end in consonant + o.
  • For words that end in consonant + y, change y to i and add es.
  • Remember that foreign words usually end in s, not es.

Practice What You've Learned

English grammar
Choose the correct plural spelling of each word.
torpedotorpedostorpedoes ... cherrycherryscherries ... boyboysboies ... patiopatiospatioes
activityactivitysactivities ... tattootattoostattooes ... vetovetosvetoes ... waywayswaies
studiostudiosstudioes ... echoechosechoes ... pennypennyspennies ... daydaysdaies
poppypoppyspoppies ... joyjoysjoies ... stilettostilettosstilettoes ... journeyjourneysjourneies
kimonokimonoskimonoes ... volcanovolcanosvolcanoes ... berryberrysberries ... valleyvalleysvalleies
flyflysflies ... chimneychimneyschimneies ... librarylibraryslibraries ... photophotosphotoes
cellocelloscelloes ... buffalobuffalosbuffaloes ... daisydaisysdaisies ... alleyalleysalleies
turkeyturkeysturkeies ... storystorysstories ... keykeyskeies ... radioradiosradioes
discodiscosdiscoes ... dominodominosdominoes ... monkeymonkeysmonkeies ... companycompanyscompanies
ladyladysladies ... tacotacostacoes ... essayessaysessaies ... demodemosdemoes