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English Grammar Step by Step

 

     UNIT 12
     SINGULAR AND PLURAL NOUNS



   Change the singular words given in the exercises below into plural.

1  Examples:
   watch→watches
   dish→dishes
   bus→buses1
   kiss→kisses
   fox→foxes
   fez→fezzes2
   buzz→buzzes


   After -ch, -sh, -s, -ss, -x, -z and -zz, we add -es.

a  fax
b  mass
c  gas
d  wish
e  match


2  Examples:
   play→plays (vowel + y)
   spy3→spies (consonant + y→i + es)

a  journey
b  boy
c  fly
d  university
e  salary


3  Examples:
   Knife→knives
   shelf→shelves


   -fe and -f often change to -ves when making the plural. However, the following words do not undergo any change:
     belief→beliefs
     chief→chiefs
     cliff→cliffs
     cuff→cuffs
     fife→fifes
     massif→massifs
     mischief→mischiefs
     motif→motifs
     proof→proofs
     reef→reefs
     roof→roofs
     ruff→ruffs
     safe→safes
     serf→serfs

   At times, both combinations are possible, though:
     dwarf→dwarfs or dwarves
     handkerchief→handkerchiefs or handkerchieves
     hoof→hoofs or hooves
     scarf→scarfs or sacarves
     turf→turfs or turves
     wharf→wharfs or wharves


a  life
b  self
c  roof
d  turf
e  safe


4  Examples:
   potato→potatoes
   kilo→kilos
("kilo" is an abbreviation for "kilogramme".)
   concerto→concertos (The origin of this word is Italian, that is, foreign. "Concerti" is also possible, but less usual.)
   folio→folios (The -o is preceded by a vowel.)

   The -o ending makes the plural by adding -es. Yet, it only takes an -s with abbreviations and words whose origin is foreign4: bistro, casino, canto, curio, concerto, dynamo, hello (also hallo or hullo), hippo, inferno, kilo, kimono, photo, piano, pro, rhino, solo, soprano, torso and tremolo. Sometimes, both combinations are possible: banjo→banjos/banjoes; cargo→cargos/cargoes; commando→ commandos/commandoes; dodo→dodos/dodoes; fiasco→fiascos/fiascoes; flamingo→flamingos/flamingoes; ghetto→ghettos/ghettoes; innuendo→innuendos/innuendoes; halo→halos/haloes; lasso→lassos/lassoes; mango→mangos/mangoes; motto→mottos/mottoes; placebo→placebos/placeboes; tornado→tornados/tornadoes; veto→vetos/vetoes; volcano→volcanos/volcanoes. We add only one -s to the singular noun if the o is preceded by another vowel: kangaroo→kangaroos.

a  hero
b  tomato
c  photo
d  bamboo
e  canto


5  Example:
   skull→skulls

   "Skull" has a different ending from those given in the sections above, so we form the plural with an -s.

a  row
b  sword
c  navel
d  oven
e  ornament


6  Revision exercise.
a  echo
b  calf
c  country
d  microwave
e  confession
f  judge
g  banquet
h  thief
i  kimono
j  hooligan
k  pro
l  quiz
m  wharf
n  cuff
o  cargo
p  switch
q  slide
r  reel
s  armpit
t  burglar alarm5
u  brother-in-law
v  trip
w  dwarf
x  inferno
y  prey
z  dent


7  Example:
   psychosis→psychoses

   Words of Greek origin ending in -is, form the plural by changing the -i- into -e-, as in the above example. Nevertheless, there are a few exceptions: chrysalis→chrysalises, chrysalides; iris→irises; metropolis→metropolises. Axis→axes, pelvis→pelvises, penis→penises (or penes) and testis→testes come from Latin.

a  diagnosis
b  oasis
c  thesis
d  axis
e  metamorphosis


8  Example:
   apex→apices/apexes
   cervix→cervices/cervixes
   codex→codices
   cortex→cortices/cortexes
   index→indices/indexes
   matrix→matrices/matrixes
   thorax→thoraces/thoraxes
(The Latin language took it from Greek.)
   vertex→vertices/vertexes

   Some Latin-origin substantives ending in -ex or -ix have two plural forms: one regular and one irregular, as seen above. Occasionally, we might have a variation in meaning. For example, appendix can refer to a book (appendices) and to a body (appendixes, appendices). The noun "mix" is not regarded as foreign by speakers of English; therefore, only the regular plural form is possible: mixes.

a  index
b  complex6
c  telex7
d  matrix
e  cortex


9  Revision exercise.
a  metropolis
b  vest
c  drop
d  rattlesnake
e  trolley
f  lamb
g  waistcoat
h  leaf
i  handkerchief
j  brush
k  carriage
l  church
m  bundle
n  crutch
o  windscreen wiper
p  flat battery
q  thorn
r  dish
s  frog
t  wolf
u  soprano
v  wharf
w  thermos flask
x  hypothesis
y  scarf
z  chimney


10 Examples:
   child→children
   foot→feet
   goose→geese
   louse→lice
   man→men
   mouse→mice
   ox→oxen
   person→people8
   tooth→teeth
   woman→women


a  tooth
b  woman
c  mouse
d  person
e  louse


11 Examples:
   aircraft→aircraft
   barracks→barracks
   brace→brace
   buffalo→buffaloes/buffalos/buffalo9
   cannon→cannon/cannons
   carp→carps/carp
   chamois→chamois
   chassis→chassis
   cod→cod
   corps→corps
   counsel→counsel
   crab→crabs/crab
   craft→craft
   crossroads→crossroads
   cuttlefish→cuttlefish/cuttlefishes
   deer→deer
   dice, die
(dated)→dice
   duck→ducks/duck
   elk→elks/elk
   Eskimo→Eskimos/Eskimo
   fish→fish/fishes
(types of fish)
   flounder→flounders/flounder
   gallows→gallows
   giraffe→giraffes/giraffe
   grand→grand
   grouse→grouse
   headquarters→headquarters
   herring→herrings/herring
   innings→innings
   Inuit→Inuits/Inuit (or Innuit→Innuits/Innuit)
   kangaroo→kangaroos/kangaroo
   Koodoo/kudu→koodoo/kudu, koodoos/kudus
   links→links
   mackerel→mackerels/mackerel
   means→means
   mews→mews
   moose→moose
   offspring→offspring
   partridge→partridges/partridge
   pheasant→pheasants/pheasant
   pike→pikes/pike
   plaice→plaice
   quid→quid
   reinder→reindeers/reindeer
   rendezvous→rendezvous
   rhinoceros→rhinoceroses/rhinoceros (also rhino→rhinos/rhino)
   salmon→salmon
   seal→seals/seal
   series→series
   sheep→sheep
   spacecraft→spacecraft
   species→species
   squid→squids/squid
   swine→swine
   trout→trouts/trout
   turbot→turbots/turbot


a  deer
b  buffalo
c  salmon
d  series
e  herring


12 Revision exercise.
a  man
b  tornado
c  ellipsis
d  sheep
e  plug
f  socket
g  adaptor
h  glass
i  neklace
j  address book
k  gallery
l  headquarters
m  mango
n  tremolo
o  vegetable rack
p  cushion
q  testimony
r  jew
s  water-lily
t  catch-phrase
u  ox
v  volcano
w  basis
x  vertex
y  seducer
z  dint


____________________
1  Busses is possible as well, especially in American English.
2  Note that the consonant is doubled too.
3  Notice the following: chilli→chillies (chili→chilies is American.)
4  Although "potato" is taken from the Castilian word "patata" —a blend from the Taino forms "papa" and "batata"—, it should be considered as an English one, because it has wholly adapted to the language.
5  Compounds generally make plural the last element. All the same, if we have an adjective in the second element, only the first element is made plural: court-martial→courts-martial.

   Phrasal verbs may become nouns. In this case, we add an -s to the end (break-up→break-ups, lay-by→lay-bys, turn-off→turn-offs, shake-out→shake-outs):
     She broke up with him.
     Their break-up caused him a lot of pain.

   However, exceptions can occur: passer-by→passers-by. Note too sister-in-law→sisters-in-law. Sister-in-laws is also possible in informal British English.

   When the words man or woman are in the compound, both nouns take the plural form: woman priest→women priests. If they are written as one word, and man or woman come first in the compound, they usually behave as ordinary nouns: manservant→manservants (also menservants), manhunt→manhunts, manhour→manhours; but statesman→ statesmen, sportswoman→sportswomen, handyman→handymen.
6  The plural of this word is regular. This noun was taken from French. It originally comes from Latin.
7  It is a blend: teleprinter + exchange. It has a regular plural.
8  In very formal contexts, "persons" is possible.
9  Words like buffalo, carp, crab usually make the plural with an -s, but no -s is added when they are used in specialized contexts. For instance, a hunter would say I killed two buffalo yesterday, but some Sunday trippers would say We saw a lot of buffaloes this morning.

Author: Miquel Molina i Diez

Pages: 1, 2 and the key

   Contents

   Introduction

   Notes

1  Negative and interrogative sentences (Page 2 and the key)

2  Short answers (Page 2 and the key)

3  Question tags (Page 2 and the key)

4  Questions and exclamations (Page 2 and the key)

5  So, neither, nor, either (the key)

6  Be, used to, would, be/get/become used to, dare, have, get, become, grow, go, turn, fall and feel (Page 2 and the key)

7  Verb tenses: forms (Page 2 and the key)

8  Irregular verbs

9  Verb tenses: uses (Page 2, Page 3, Page 4, Page 5 and the key)

10 Personal pronouns, possessives and reflexive pronouns (Page 2 and the key)

11 The genitive case (the key)

12 Singular and plural nouns (Page 2 and the key)

13 Gender (the key)

14 A, an, some, any, no, not, none, each, every and the; compounds of some, any, no and every (Page 2, Page 3 and the key)

15 Neither, not...either, none, not...any, both and all (the key)

16 A few, few, a lot, lots, a little, little, many, much, no and plenty (the key)

17 Enough, too, so and such (the key)

18 Comparative and superlative sentences (Page 2 and the key)

19 Adjective order (the key)

20 Relative clauses (Page 2 and the key)

21 Do and make (the key)

22 Modal verbs (Page 2, Page 3 and the key)

23 Infinitives, gerunds and present participles (Page 2 and the key)

24 Conditional sentences (Page 2 and the key)

25 Passive sentences (the key)

26 Reported speech (Page 2 and the key)

27 Purpose (the key)

28 Word order (the key)

29 Inversion (the key)

30 Connectors (Page 2 and the key)

31 Prepositions (Page 2, Page 3 and the key)

32 Phrasal verbs (the key)

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