July 21, 2024

Change the number in English: Noun and the Number

Singular and plural nouns

Rules – Change the number in English

  1. ‘S’ is used at the end of a noun to make it into plural form

Boy – boys, car- cars, horse- horses

Studios, videos, ratios, bamboos, cuckoos, cliffs, dwarfs, proofs, mischiefs, beliefs, cafes

f/fe is at the end of a noun, add –ve/ves

wife – wives, knife – knives, hoof – hooves/hoofs

  1. Some nouns end with ‘y’, but consonant should be there before ‘y’, add – ies

Fly – flies

Babies, stories, cities, ladies, nurseries

  1. if the vowel is used before ‘y’ at the end of the noun

Monkey – monkeys

Keys, boys, days, rays

  1. If a noun ends with ch/sh/x/o/ss/s/z add –es at the end of a noun

Tomatoes, mangoes, Negroes, benches, watches, quizzes, taxes, boxes

Except:  stomachs, pianos, solos, kilos, photos, commandos etc.

  1. Some nouns are used in singular and plural forms without ‘s.’

Change the number in English


Singular noun Plural noun
Child Children
Tooth Teeth
Foot Feet
Man Men
Woman Women
Ox Oxen
Datum Data
Mouse Mice
Louse Lice
Goose Geese
Memorandum Memoranda
Erratum Errata
Thesis Theses
Media Medium
Oases Oases
Index Indices/indexes
Synopsis Synopses
Maximum Maxima
Minimum Minima
Formula Formulae/formulas
Phenomenon Phenomena
Syllabus Syllabi/syllabuses
Stadium Stadia
Agendum Agenda
Criterion Criteria
Focus Foci/focuses
Axis axes
Bacterium bacteria
Bandit Banditti/bandits

Change the number in English

Some nouns are used in singular and plural form without changing a word: Change the number in English

Deer – deer

Sheep – sheep

Offspring – offspring

Fish – fish (if varieties of fish are mentioned, we can say fishes)

A deer is running in the forest.

Deer are grazing grass now.

A sheep is sitting there.

Sheep are walking in the fields.

Thousands of fish were sold in the market today.


The varieties of fishes were bought there.

  1. Collective nouns

It describes a group of people or things that work as a single unit.

Verb agreement rules with collective nouns

  1. Plural verbs are used with some collective nouns

Cattle, children, folk, gentry, People, peasantry, poultry

Children are playing in the park.

Cattle are walking around the field.

The folk nearby us are happy to see our performance.

People have become selfish.

People from all over the countries should maintain the social distance against the novel coronavirus covid 19. (‘peoples’ is used when we talk about all people of the world)

  1. Mostly, collective nouns are used with the singular verb to express the whole as a group. However, plural verbs are used with collective nouns when it describes the separations as a group member.

People: Committee, ministry, family, audience, crowd, mob, board, team, panel, police, jury, staff, gang, troop, band, council, horde, troupe, tribe, union, batch, assembly, army

Animals: herd, flock, swarm

Things: chain, volley, fleet, heap, pack


My family was agreed.

Family members were not agreed.

The jury was unanimous.

The fleet was moving together.

The fleet were moving in every direction.

The police was running after the thief.

The police were patrolling all over the routes.

The staff agrees on this new rule.

The staff disagree on this matter.

The jury were divided on its verdict.

The committee are divided on this agreement.

Army works on the ground.

  1. Some nouns are comprised of two parts are used with a plural verb such as articles of dress, instruments
  2. Dresses:

Jeans, knickers, trousers, pants, pajamas, breeches, shorts, briefs, underpants, socks, shoes,

  1. Instruments:

Sunglasses, goggles, spectacles, tongs, pincers, binoculars, scissors, bellows, shears, scales, tools, glasses, dividers,

  • Some of the nouns end with ‘s’ and are used with plural verbs

Arrears, assets, alms, auspices, archives, amends, annals, ashes, belongings, customs, contents, credentials, congratulations, cards, earnings, embers, funds, orders, outskirts, proceeds, riches, regards, remains, surroundings, savings, upstairs, downstairs, tactics, thanks, wages

Look some sentences: Change the number in English

His goggles are very beautiful.

Spectacles are very costly.

Pants are out of fashion these days.

His credentials are very important to our record.

My savings are not enough to buy a car.

His tactics are very useful.

My surroundings are awesome.

Alms have been given to the beggar by my mother.

His transferring orders have been sent to his home.

Wages were paid to the laborers yesterday.

  1. Compound nouns

The noun, which has two or more words to make a single noun, indicates a person, place, or thing.

Compound nouns are formed in three types

  1. Open form functions as a unique word with space between separate words.

For example:

General Manager, chief minister, home minister, middle-class family, lower caste, upper caste

  1. Closed-form: two single words connect to make a single word without space and hyphen.

For example:

Software, terabyte, hardware, handloom eyelid, eyelashes, underwear, inkpot, Inkpen

  • Hyphenated form: two or more words with hyphens are called hyphenated.

For example:

Ten-year-old, father-in-law, mother-in-law

Ten-rupee- notes  (the singular noun is used in hyphenated form)

Rules of forming compound noun

  1. Noun + noun:

Eyelid, toothbrush, toilet paper, bathroom, railway station, Water Park, bed sheet, motorbike

  1. Noun + verb

Rainfall, haircut, sunshine, sun dawn, sunset, sunrise

washing powder, floating tube,

  1. Preposition + noun:

Undergarments, underworld, underground, overcoat

  1. Preposition + verb/ verb + preposition

Input, output, underwear, takeoff, look for, takeout

  1. Noun + Prepositional phrases:

Sister-in-law, father-in-law, brother-in-law

  • Adjective + adjective:

Red-green, red-orange, blue-green

  • Adjective + noun:

Software, hardware, malware, Greenland, black man, white man, Red Indian, black mamba, smart boy

  1. Adjective + verb:

Soft speaking, blunt-speaking, dry-cleaning, green light

Plural form of compound nouns: Change the number in English

  1. s’ is used at the end of the noun word

Brother-in-law    –    brothers-in-law

Father-in-law      –     fathers-in-law

Assistant professor – Assistant professors

Major General    – Major generals

Commander-in- chief   – commanders-in-chief

  1. Possessive form for compound nouns

Apostrophe + s is used at the end of the compound noun

Ten-year-old’s toy, sister-in-law’s gift, brothers-in law’s property

  1. The singular form follows the nouns which denote definite numbers

Five hundred, ten thousand, three lakh, ten million, three billion, six dozen, five scores, two pair, three gross, three stone

  1. Indefinite numbers are used in a pluralized way

Thousands of people, millions of students

Billions of us dollars

  • When a Singular noun is used in a plural way, it provides different meaning such as
  •                                                           Change the number in English
Iron  (metal) Irons  (chains)
Work (labour) Works (literary writing)
Sand (material) Sands (desert)
Water (drinking material) Waters (sea)
Fruit (edible thing) Fruits (result)
Good (quality) Goods (things)
Abuse Abuses
Air Airs
Arm Arms
Custom Customs
Force Forces
Respect Respects
Physic Physics
Spectacle Spectacles
Advice Advices
Ground Grounds
Compass Compasses
Light Lights
Letter Letters
Practice Practices
Chain Chains
Pain Painsh
Humanity Humanities
Order Orders
Particular Particulars
Way Ways
Sand Sands
Word Words
Amend Amends
Manner Manners
Return Returns
People Peoples
Wood Woods

Some nouns are used incorrectly

Female compartment (x), lady compartment (x) ,  women compartment (√)

Lady doctor (x)  female doctor (x)   woman doctor (√)

Chairman (√),   chairlady (x),  chairperson (√)

English teacher (native English teacher of English)   a teacher of English is more formal than an English teacher for non-native English language speakers.

 Practice set I: Change the number in English

Write the plurals of the following nouns

Ox, calf, datum, sheep, mouse, foot, oasis, step-father, criterion, alumnus, mischief, hoof, wife, twelfth man, quiz, Negro, ray, lady, fly, commando

Practice II: Change the number in English

Write plural forms of compound nouns

Commander-in-chief, assistant manager, mother-in-law, Major-general

Practice III: Change the number in English

Write the singular of the following nouns

Data, loaves, teeth, women, lice, oases, criteria, indices, memoranda, maxima, synopses

Practice set IV: Change the number in English

Spot the errors

  1. The jury were agreed on its verdict.
  2. The board was divided over the issue.
  3. He got on the female compartment without seeing the reserve coach.
  4. He lost his goggle in the metro while talking on the phone with relatives.
  5. She is our chairlady of Appu Enclave.
  6. There was no place to keep my book in the almirah.
  7. I think more girls’ hostels should be built in Meerut.
  8. It seems that this laptop is not yours. It is somebody else.
  9. He gave me two thousand-rupees notes for my rent.
  10. All his brother-in-law are running a business and living in Kota.
  1. He transferred me ten thousands three hundreds rupees.
  2. I kept three dozens bananas on the table.
  3. It’s being difficult to find servants. I have to find three menservants for my farmhouse.
  4. Transfer Orders has been sent to him for the Jaipur location.
  5. Commander-in-chiefs ordered their battalions.
  6. A Thousand of students came out for a candle march in Nirbhaya’s rape case.

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