Most plural nouns are built by adding -s / -es to the singular.

cup – cups (pronounced as [s] after voiceless consonants)
wave – waves, toe – toes (pronounced as [z] after voiced consonants and vowels)

rose – roses(pronounced as [iz] after sibilants)

Special rules

1) -s, -sh, -ch, -x, -z, + -es.

loss – losses,
bench – benches, bush – bushes, box – boxes, buzz -buzzes

2)
– o + -es

buffalo – buffaloes,
cargo – cargoes, echo – echoes, hero – heroes, potato – potatoes, motto – mottoes, mosquito – mosquitoes, volcano – volcanoes

But !

vowel + o + -s
cameo – cameos

cuckoo – cuckoos

folio – folios

radio – radios

+ other nouns (of foreign origin)

o+s

banjo, bravo, burro, canto, casino, chromo, contralto, dynamo, halo, junto, kilo, lasso, memento, photo, piano, proviso, quarto, solo, soprano, stiletto, torso, tyro, zero

3)
consonant + y

y –> i + es 

sky – skies
country – countries
But !

Vowel + y + -s
day – days

Note!
Most proper names ending in
-y take the plural in -s.

Mary – Marys
Rowley – Rowleys


4) In some nouns ending in -f or -fe

-f→ -v + -es

beef – beeves

calf – calves

elf – elves

half – halves

knif – knives

leaf – leaves

life – lives

loaf – loaves

self – selves

sheaf – sheaves

shelf – shelves

thief – thieves

wife – wives

wolf – wolves

But !

The following nouns in -f or -fe take only -s

belief – beliefs

cliff – cliffs

cuff – cuffs

grief – griefs

gulf – gulfs

proof – proofs

safe – safes

Note!

Some nouns have both forms in the plural:

handkerchiefs/handkerchieves, hoofs/hooves, scarfs/scarves, wharfs/wharves

(I.P Krylova, E.M. Gordon, p.261)

5) Some nouns form their plural in
-en.

ox – oxen

child – children


6) A few nouns form their plural by a change of vowel.

man – men (also firemen, salesmen etc.)
woman – women
foot – feet
tooth – teeth
goose – geese
mouse – mice
louse – lice


7) Some nouns have the same form in both singular and plural:

cod, deer, fish, grouse, sheep, heathen, salmon, swine, trout.

8) Some noun borrowed from from other languages have special plural forms.

– from Latin:

-um → -a

bacterium – bacteria

datum – data

stratum – strata

-us → – i

alumnus [ə’lʌmnəs]– alumni [ə’lʌmnaɪ]

radius – radii

stimulus – stimuli

terminus – termini

other Latin nouns:

apparatus – apparatus

index – indices

series – series

species – species

– from Greek:

-is → es

analysis – analyses

axis – axes

basis – bases

diagnosis – diagnoses

hypothesis – hypotheses

oasis – oases

synopsis – synopses

thesis – theses

-on → a

phenomenon – phenomena

criterion – criteria

! Some nouns have the new English plural along with the original foreign one:

appendix – appendices/appendixes

curriculum – curriculums/curricula,

formula – formulas/formulae,

memorandum – memorandums/memornda

(I.P. Krylova, E.M. Gordon, p. 262)

9) Plural compound nouns normally take -s in the last pat;

spoonful – spoonfuls

stepson – stepsons
forget-me-not – forget-me-not
s

merry-go-round – merry-go-rounds

Sometimes
-s is added to the first part.
e
ditor-in-chief – editors-in-chief
maid-of-honor – maid
s-of-honor (‘the main bridesmaid at a wedding’)
son-in-law – sons-in-law

10) Nouns used only in the plural form (pluralia tantum)

– clothing (clothes, dungarees, jeans, pyjamas, shorts, trousers, trunks)

– tools/equipment (scissors, glasses/spectacles, scales, handcuffs, pliers)

– games (dominoes, darts, cards)

– other (contents, goods, remains, savings, stairs, thanks, troops, whereabouts)

 

Some particular meanings of the plural

Exercises

Additional*