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Spelling (Plurals for nouns ending in f or fe) 01
These are leaves. They are NOT leafs.

Spelling (Plurals for nouns ending in f or fe) 01

Some nouns ending in -f or -fe have plural forms ending in -ves. And some don't! As ever, there are always exceptions in English to keep you on your toes.

What happens to words like "knife", "wife", "half", "elf" and "life" when they become plural? If you say the words aloud, you notice that the f begins to soften and becomes a v sound instead. In spelling, these plural words look like this: "knives", "wives", "halves", "elves" and "lives". In every case, the v is followed by an -es, rather than only an -s ("knivs" just wouldn't look right somehow, at least in English).

Knowing how to make words ending in -f or -fe plural is one of those useful spelling rules to learn. If in doubt, try saying the plural form aloud, listening for a v sound. If you can hear the v, the word is not likely to be an exception to the rule. These exceptions include "chief" (chiefs), "roof" (roofs) and words ending in a double f, such as "cliff" (cliffs, not clives....).

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1.
Select the correct spelling(s) for the missing word(s).
The footballers' ....... cheered as their husbands played.
wife
wifes
wive
wives
"Wife" loses the -fe and adds -ves to form its plural
2.
Select the correct spelling(s) for the missing word(s).
In autumn the ....... turn golden.
leaf
leafs
leave
leaves
One "leaf", but more than one "leaves"
3.
Select the correct spelling(s) for the missing word(s).
The cow gave birth to twin .......
calf
calfs
calve
calves
More than one "calf" is "calves" (this is also true of the leg muscle)
4.
Select the correct spelling(s) for the missing word(s).
In the bakery there were still some ....... on the .......
loaf, shelf
loafs, shelfs
loaves, shelfs
loaves, shelves
One "loaf" on a "shelf", but many "loaves" on the "shelves"
5.
Select the correct spelling(s) for the missing word(s).
The ....... howled in the snowy forest.
wolf
wolfs
wolve
wolves
One "wolf", many "wolves"
6.
Select the correct spelling(s) for the missing word(s).
The students purchased red, blue and green .......
scarf
scarfs
scarves
scarvs
How many nouns can you think of which end in -f or -fe? Do they all lose the -f/-fe for a -ves when plural?
7.
Select the correct spelling(s) for the missing word(s).
Put these ten ....... and forks on the table please!
knife
knifes
knive
knives
One "knife" but two "knives"
8.
Select the correct spelling(s) for the missing word(s).
The book is about the ....... of great composers.
life
lifes
live
lives
"Life": lose the -fe and add -ves to form the plural
9.
Select the correct spelling(s) for the missing word(s).
The newborn ....... were just beginning their .......
calf, lives
calfs, lifes
calves, life
calves, lives
Are you getting the hang of it yet?
10.
Select the correct spelling(s) for the missing word(s).
The ....... of each band of warriors held a meeting.
chief
chiefs
chieve
chieves
"Chief" is an exception to the rule and just adds an s for its plural

 

Author:  Sue Daish

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