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Nouns—
Singular and Plural (Number)

     Number is that form or use of a word by which it denotes one or more than one. The singular number of a noun is the form or use of it that denotes one. The plural number of a noun is the form or use of it that denotes more than one.

Five rules for forming plurals.

Rule 1. Most nouns add s to the singular to form the plural.

books, rats, lions, cars

Rule 2. When the singular ends in a hissing letter or letters, such as s, z, sh, ch (sounded as in the word church), and x, the plural is formed by adding es to the singular.

hisses, kisses, sashes, latches

Rule 3. When the singular ends in y preceded by a vowel, the plural is formed by adding s to the singular.

bays, keys, volleys, toys, guys

Rule 4. When the singular ends in y preceded by a consonant, the y is changed into i and es is added to form the plural.

spy—spies, sky—skies, belfry-belfries

Rule 5. Most nouns ending in f or fe form their plurals by adding s to the singular; some by dropping the f or fe and adding ves.

fifes, skiffs, cliffs, strifes, half—halves, shelf—shelves

Adapted from Introductory Lessons in English Grammar for Use in Intermediate Grades, by Wm. H. Maxwell