Noun - Number

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Noun number shows whether a noun is in singular or is in plural. And this 'number' plays vital role in English. We can see the different methods of forming plurals in this lesson.
Charles Where have you been, my dear boy?
Matt Grandpa, you know? I went to the book fair!
Charles Is it? Very good.
Matt Not only that grandpa. I bought five book there.
Charles O! No, it is not 'five book' - It is five books.
Matt why so grandpa?
Charles book' is singular - only one in number. 'books' is plural - more than one.
Matt Singular - plural - interesting! I want to know more grandpa.
Charles Don't worry, I'll teach you.

Number in noun helps us to know whether a noun is singular or plural. A noun that denotes one person or thing is singular. A noun that refers to more than one person or thing is plural.

The ways of forming plural from singular:

  1. By adding - s.
  2. By adding- es. (words ending in -s,-sh, -ch,-x,-o)
  3. By adding -s (words ending in - O)
  4. By changing -'y' into -'i' and adding - 'es' (nouns ending in -'y')
  5. By changing -'f' or -'fe' into -'v' and adding -'es' (nouns ending in -'f' or -'fe': ) and some words takes only -s.
  6. By changing inside vowel
  7. By adding - 'en'
  8. Singular and Plural as same
  9. Nouns used only in plural
  10. Collective noun - singular in form but acts as plural
  11. By adding -'s' to the principal word in the compound noun.
  12. Nouns with two plural forms with different meanings.
  13. Nouns with two meanings in singular and one meaning in plural.
  14. Nouns with one meaning in singular and two meanings in plural.
  15. Nouns with different meanings in singular and plural.
  16. By adding an apostrophe and -'s'.
  17. Usually abstract nouns have no plural.

1. By adding - s

Singular Plural
girl girls
boy boys
book books

2. By adding- es. (words ending in -s,-sh, -ch,-x,-o)

bench benches
dish dishes
class classess
hero heroes
mango mangoes
buffalo
buffaloes

3. By adding -s (words ending in - O)

commando commandos
dynamo dynamos
photo photos

4. By changing -'y' into -'i' and adding - 'es' (nouns ending in -'y')

army armies
baby babies
story stories
city cities

5. a) By changing -'f' or -'fe' into -'v' and adding -'es' (nouns ending in -'f' or -'fe': )

life lives
thief thieves
wife wives
leaf leaves
knife knives

5. b)

dwarf dwarfs/dwarves
hoof hoofs/hooves
scarf scarfs/scarves

5. c)

chief chiefs
gulf gulfs
cliff cliffs
proof proofs

6. By changing inside vowel

man men
goose geese
foot feet
woman women
tooth teeth

7. By adding - 'en'

child children
ox oxen

8. Singular and Plural as same

Example:

  1. I have five dozen pencils. - not dozens.
  2. There are twenty deer in the garden. - not deers.
  3. He gave her three thousand rupees. - not thousands

9. Nouns used only in plural

(a) Names of instruments having two parts : scissors, tongs, pincers, spectacles.

  1. I need a scissors now.
  2. please wear you spectacles.

(b) Name of certain dress

  • Trousers, drawers, shorts, jeans.
  1. He likes this blue shirts.
  2. I bought a costly pants.

(c) Name of diseases

  • measles, mumps

(d) Name of games :

  • Billiards, draughts.

(e) Name of subjects :

  • Physics, mathematics, politics.

10. Collective noun - singular in form but acts as plural

  • poultry, cattle, people, gentry.
  1. My cattle are very healthy.
  2. He met some people there.

11. By adding -'s' to the principal word in the compound noun.

  • Sons-in-law not son.in-laws
  • Commanders-in-chief.
  • Daughters-in-law
  • Maid servants, men-servants
  • Men-of-war

[exception : spoonfuls, handfuls - because they are considered as one
word.]

12. Nouns with two plural forms with different meanings.

  • Brother - brothers ( sons of same parent)
  • Brethren ( members of a society/community)
  • Cloth - cloths ( kinds/pieces of cloth)
  • Clothes (garments)
  • Index - indexes (tables of contents to books)
  • Indices ( signs in algebra)

13. Nouns with two meanings in singular and one meaning in plural.

Light:

  • radiance lights - lamps.
  • a lamp

people:

  • nation peoples - nations
  • men and women

14. Nouns with one meaning in singular and two meanings in plural :

colour - hue
colours:
1. hues
2. the flag of a regiment

Custom - habit
Customs:
1. habits
2. duties levied on exports.

Manner- method
Manners:
1. methods
2. behaviour

Moral- a moral lesson
Morals:
1. moral lessons
2. conduct.

Quarter - fourth part
Quarters:
1. fourth parts
2. lodgings

15. Nouns with different meanings in singular and plural

air - atmosphere airs - affected manners
good - well being goods - merchandise
physic - medicine physics - science
iron - metal irons - fetters
force - strength forces - troops

16. By adding an apostrophe and -'s': ( figures, letters, symbols)

  1. There are many a's in this sentence.
  2. Add three 6's and four 5's

17. Usually abstract nouns have no plural.

18. Some other nouns :

  • index - indices
  • formula - formulae/formulas.
  • memorandum - memoranda
  • axis - axes
  • crisis - crises
  • criterion - criteria

Let us play now:

Singular Plural
Desk ?
Cow ?
? kisses
? dishes
box ?
brush ?
echo ?
? volcanoes
Kilo ?
Photo ?
? commandos
baby ?
half ?
? wolves
cliff ?
sheep ?

Answers:

  • Desks
  • Cows
  • Kiss
  • Dish
  • Boxes
  • Brushes
  • Echoes
  • Volcano
  • Killos
  • Photos
  • Commando
  • Babies
  • Halves
  • Wolf
  • Cliffs
  • Sheep

Say which is correct:

  • gooses or geese
  • trouser or trousers
  • alms or alm
  • measle or measles
  • billiards or billiard
  • cattle or cattles
  • son-in-laws or sons-in-law
  • charity or charities
  • 4's or 4s'
  • man-of-wars or men-of-war

Answers:

  • Geese
  • Trousers
  • Alms
  • Measles
  • Billiards
  • Cattle
  • Sons-in-law
  • Charity
  • 4's
  • Men-of-war

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