Singular and plural nouns

The label number refers to the grammatical category which relates to the number of countable objects in the world. In English, number is important with nouns. An English noun exhibits a two-way distinction of number: a singular form and a plural form.

The singular form denotes one of something. Examples are: tree, cat, flower, girl, boy etc.

The plural form denotes two or more of something. Examples are: trees, cats, flowers, girls, boys etc.

In English, a singular noun usually has no marking while the plural form carries the suffix -s or -es.

  • Cat / cats
  • Dog / dogs
  • Fox / foxes
  • Fruit / fruits

A few dozen nouns form their plurals irregularly. Examples are:

  • Child / children
  • Man / men
  • Woman / women
  • Foot / feet
  • Tooth / teeth
  • Mouse / mice

Nouns with only a singular form or only a plural form

Some nouns have only a singular form or only a plural form. Nouns which have only a singular form include the following: furniture, wheat, happiness, scenery, news, information, luggage, bread, advice etc.

Nouns which have only a plural form include the following: police, cattle, oats, tweezers, pants, remains etc.

Nouns with identical singular and plural forms

A few nouns in English have identical singular and plural forms. An example is sheep.

  • The sheep is hungry. (Sheep – singular)
  • The sheep are hungry. (Sheep – plural)