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.