How to Identify Irregular Plural Nouns: Part 2

How to Identify Irregular Plural Nouns: Part 2

This is part 2 of our lesson on how to identify irregular plural nouns in English.

irregular-plural-nouns
irregular-plural-nouns

In part 1, we established that irregular nouns made their plural by changing vowels, changing the word, or adding a different ending.

Examples

  • mouse = mice
  • mongoose = mongeese
  • person = people
  • cactus = cacti
  • louse = lice
  • appendix = appendices

Some nouns have no Singular form.

Examples

  • braces = braces
  • shears = shears
  • bellows = bellows
  • tongs = tongs
  • pliers = pliers
  • breeches = breeches
  • scissors = scissors
  • measles = measles
  • tights = tights
  • spectacles = spectacles
  • pants = pants
  • tidings = tidings
  • barracks = barracks
  • shorts = shorts
  • trousers = trousers
  • pincers = pincers
  • shears = shears
  • victuals = victuals
  • spectacles = spectacles
  • thanks = thanks
  • gallows = gallows
  • billiards = billiards
  • tweezers = tweezers

Some nouns have the same form for Singular and Plural.

Examples

  • deer = deer
  • sheep = sheep
  • salmon = salmon
  • grouse = grouse
  • cannon = cannon
  • swine = swine
  • trout = trout

There is one exception regarding the word dozen. When you put a number before it, there’s no plural ending.

For example: two dozen, five dozen, twelve dozen, few dozen, several dozen.

However, if there is no number, then you add an -s to make it plural.

For example: Dozens of people came to the concert or there are dozens of books in the library.

The Plural of some nouns are formed by changing a vowel or by adding –en.

Examples

  • foot = feet
  • goose = geese
  • ox = oxen
  • man = men
  • woman = women
  • child = children
  • mongoose = mongeese
  • tooth = teeth

Be sure to check out: How to Identify Irregular Plurals in English – Part 1

The plural of some compound words are formed by adding –s to the first word.

Examples

  • father-in-law = fathers-in-law
  • mother-in-law = mothers-in-law
  • son-in-law = sons-in-law
  • daughter-in-law = daughters-in-law
  • guard-of-honour = guards-of-honour
  • passer-by = passers-by
  • hanger-on = hangers-on
  • man-of-war = men-of-war
  • coat-of-mail = coats-of-mail
  • maid-of-honour = maids-of-honour

The plural of some compound words are formed by adding –s to the last word.

Examples

  • mouse-trap = mouse-traps
  • by-way = by-ways
  • spoonful = spoonfuls
  • by-law = by-laws
  • cupful = cupfuls
  • police-constable = police-constables
  • page-boy = page-boys

Irregular Plural Nouns – Exercises

Exercise 1

Write the plural forms of these nouns.

  1. cup, deer, stereo, cargo, scissors
  2. shelf, passer-by, wife, chief, genius
  3. cliff, wharf, mouse, family, holiday
  4. pants, gas, ox, son-in-law, cupful

Exercise 2

Give the singular of these nouns.

  • armies, dwarfs, clothes, trout, solos, cargoes, glasses

Exercise 3

Insert the correct plural in each space below.

  1. one daisy ……………  a bunch of _______________
  2. one half ………………  two ________________
  3. one donkey …………….. six __________________
  4. one foot ……………… two ________________
  5. one chimney …………..  several __________________

Exercise 4

Rewrite the following sentences, changing the singular nouns in heavy type into the plural form. (remember that plural nouns do not have –a or –an)

  1. The boy saw a sheep in the field.
  2. The cat chased the mouse.
  3. The nurse carried the baby to the nursery.
  4. The policeman caught the thief.
  5. The leaf fell from the tree.

Exercise 5

Complete the following sentences by using the plural form of a noun ending with –f.

  1. Two _______________ are equal to one whole.
  2. The bakery has over a thousand _______________ of bread.
  3. Farmer Brook’s cow gave birth to two ______________.
  4. Last night _____________ stole a large quantity of goods from the store.
  5. The boy was frightened by the pack of _____________ howling in the forest.

Exercise 6

  • Write 5 nouns which have no singular form.
  • Write 5 nouns which have the same form for both singular and plural.

Solution

Exercise 1

  1. cups,  deer, stereos, cargoes, scissors
  2. shelves, passers-by, wives, chiefs, geniuses or genii
  3. cliffs, wharfs or wharves, mice,  families, holidays
  4. pants, gasses, oxen, sons-in-law, cupfuls

Exercise 2

army, dwarf, cloth, trout, solo, cargo, glass

Exercise 3

  1. daisies
  2. halves
  3. donkeys
  4. feet
  5. chimneys

Exercise 4

  1. The boys saw sheep in the field.
  2. The cats chased the mice.
  3. The nurses carried the babies to the nursery.
  4. The policemen caught the thieves.
  5. The leaves fell from the trees.

Exercise 5

  1. halves
  2. loaves
  3. calves
  4. thieves
  5. wolves

Exercise 6

  1. tongs
  2. trousers
  3. tidings
  4. barracks
  5. pliers

Exercise 7

  1. cannon
  2. salmon
  3. deer
  4. trout
  5. grouse
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