Spelling 5 - Plurals
Who's on the cheese - two mouses or two mice?

Spelling 5 - Plurals

The English language has thousands of words that appear in our day to day usage. We often want to use the plural of some words so as to convey certain messages. For instance CARS is the plural of CAR. Adding S to a word is the most common convention of arriving at plurals of words. However, this does not always work! There are many other words you might have come across such as ENEMY-ENEMIES, CATTLE-CATTLE and ALUMNUS-ALUMNI.

As you have learnt in earlier quizzes, there are some conventions which can be followed in English and forming plurals too follows conventions. Apart from the most common convention of adding S to a word to form its plural there are others that merit attention:

Some words ending in X or S become plural by adding ES at the end of the word, such as BOX-BOXES or HOUSE-HOUSES.

Some words that end in Y become plural by adding IES at the end of the word, such as CRONY-CRONIES or LADY-Ladies. However, here you have to remove Y and add IES.

Some words, such as CRISIS, become plural by just changing the last I to E to form CRISES, which is the plural form of CRISIS.

There are words which change into plural because of their origin is traced to a foreign language and they retain the original plural form, as in the case of STIMULUS-STIMULI or CACTUS-CACTI.

Yet other words change into plurals following a complicated route such as in THIEF-THIEVES.

Did you know that there are many words where the plurals don’t change from the original word in singular? Can you guess which these words are? English has also its share of irregular words which do not follow any convention. Examples of irregular words are HOOF-HOOVES, MEDIUM-MEDIA and OX-OXEN.

Remembering plurals is not too difficult as most plurals follow the ‘add S’ rule while other conventions are relatively easier to remember. Take this quiz and test your knowledge of the spellings of plurals.

1.
Which one of the following four options does not have the correct plural spellings?
aircraft sheep
information gold
cattle deer
offsprings luggages
The correct plural spellings are 'offspring' and 'luggage'. Such words are the same even in plurals
2.
Which one of the following four options does not have the correct plural spellings?
computeres workeres parentes
books cars aeroplanes
donations questions words
friends birds sparrows
The correct plural spellings are 'computers', 'workers' and 'parents'. Generally, most words become plurals by adding an S
3.
Which one of the following four options does not have the correct plural spellings?
calves oafs
wives chefs
knifes beliefes
shelves cliffs
The correct spellings are 'knives' and 'beliefs'. While some words ending with F or FE have the following plurals - 'calf-calves', 'wife-wives' and 'shelf-shelves', others follow the 'S' rule - 'cliff-cliffs', 'chef-chefs' and 'oaf-oafs'
4.
Which one of the following four options does not have the correct plural spellings?
alleys valleys
essayes attorneyes
boys toys
turkeys trays
The correct plural spellings are 'essays' and 'attorneys'. Words that end in Y preceded by a vowel become plurals by adding an S
5.
Which one of the following four options does not have the correct plural spellings?
theses alumni
analysises funguses
oases indices
bases radii
The correct spellings are 'analyses' and 'fungi'. 'Analyses' is the plural of 'analysis'. Note the other words in this genre - 'thesis-theses', 'oasis-oases' and 'basis-bases'. 'Fungi' is the plural of 'fungus'. Note the other words in this genre - 'alumnus-alumni', 'index-indices' and 'radius-radii' - these words are imported from other languages and so follow their original plurals
6.
Which one of the following four options does not have the correct plural spellings?
lice mice
teeth women
childs gooses
men feet
The correct plural spellings are 'children' and 'geese'. Words in this question are known as irregular words as their plurals do not follow any pattern. The other words are - 'louse-lice', 'mouse-mice', 'tooth-teeth', 'woman-women', 'man-men' and 'foot-feet'
7.
Which one of the following four options does not have the correct plural spellings?
classes fixes matches dishes
passes taxes witches brushes
crosses equinoxes sketches crashes
atlass foxs catchs bushs
The correct plural spellings are 'atlases', 'foxes', 'catches' and 'bushes'. Words ending with S, X, CH or SH become plurals by adding ES to the end of the word
8.
Which one of the following four options does not have the correct plural spellings?
enemies parties ponies
babies countries families
allys injurys dictionarys
trophies stories studies
The correct plural spellings are 'allies', 'injuries' and 'dictionaries'. Words that end in Y preceded by a consonant become plurals by removing the Y and adding IES
9.
Which one of the following four options does not have the correct plural spellings?
buffaloes zeroes
heroes mosquitoes
potatoes tomatoes
volcanos torpedos
The correct plural spellings are 'volcanoes' and 'torpedoes'. Words ending with O usually become plurals by adding ES to the end. There are exceptions such as 'photos' and 'studios'
10.
Which one of the following four options does not have the correct plural spellings?
memoes lassoes
folios infernos
videos zoos
mementos tattoos
The correct plural spellings are 'memos' and 'lassos'. The words ending with O in this question follow the general rule of becoming plural by adding an S. However, there are exceptions such as echoes and mottoes
Author:  V T Narendra

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