Number: Types, Rules & Examples

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Number: Types, Rules & Examples

In grammar, the number refers to the count of a noun or pronoun.
Example:   Boy-boys, wife-wives, my-our, ox-oxen, it-they, etc.

Types of Number:

Two types exist

Singular Number

It refers to the count of only one of a noun or pronoun.

Example: pen, table, aunt, father, goose, etc.

Plural Number

It refers to the count of more than one of a noun or pronoun.

Example: pens, tables, aunts, fathers, geese, etc.

How to change number

Numerous RULES are there to change the number from singular to plural. They are as follows-

Rule 1:

In general “s” is used at the end of a singular noun to make it plural

Example:

Singular Plural
Pencil Pencils
Cow Cows
House Houses
Dog Dogs
Mobile Mobiles

Rule 2:

If  there exist s, sh, ch, x and z in the end, “es” gets to be used.

Examples:

Singular Plural
Bus Buses
Dish Dishes
Branch Branches
Fox Foxes
Fez Fezes

 Rule 3:

While  pronunciation of ch is like “k”, just “s” is added at the end

Example:

Singular Plural
Monarch Monarchs
Patriarch Patriarchs
Matriarch Matriarchs
Stomach Stomachs
Hierarch Hierarchs

Part 1: when there’s a “y” in the end  and a Consonant before that “y”, “i” substitutes it  and an “es” thereafter.

Example:

Singular Plural
Story Stories
Hobby Hobbies
Army Armies
Fly Flies
Baby Babies

Part 2: but if there’s a vowel ahead of  that “y”, no need to change it, only “s” to add.

Example
Singular Plural
Donkey Donkeys
Toy Toys
Day Days
Joy Joys
Play Plays

Rule 4:

“v” replaces f or fe and then adds an “es” to finish it.

Example:

Singular Plural
thief Thieves
Wife Wives
Knife Knives
Wolf Wolves
Leaf Leaves

Part 1: “es” to be added if the noun is finished by “o” and a consonant places ahead.

Example:

singular Plural
Hero Heroes
Mango Mangoes
Zero Zeroes
Potato Potatoes
Echo Echoes

Part 2: but when there’s a vowel before that “o”, only “s” is enough.

Example

Singular Plural
Cuckoo Cuckoos
Bamboo Bamboos
Studio Studios
Portfolio Portfolios
Cameo Cameos

Exception 1:  though there’s an “o” and a consonant ahead of  it, some nouns use only “s”.

Example:

Singular Plural
Photo Photos
Piano Pianos
Radio Radios
Canto                 Cantos
Memo                 Memos

Exception 2: for some, “s” and “es” both are correct.

Singular Plural
Mosquito Mosquitos/mosquitoes
Commando Commandos/commandoes
Portico Porticos/porticoes
Calico Calicos/calicoes
Memento Mementos/mementoes

Rule 5:

Some require changing the middle-vowel of the word to make it plural.

Example:

Singular Plural
Man Men
Woman Women
Foot Feet
Mouse Mice
Tooth Teeth

Rule 6:

Some  require en, ren and ne to add at last.

Example:

Singular plural
Ox Oxen
Child Children
Brother Brethren (brothers also correct)
Cow Kine (cows also correct)
Sister Sistren (sisters also correct)

Part 1:  if “man” means human being in a compound noun(a  noun that contains two or more words that jointly make a single noun), “men”replaces that “man”.

Example:

singular plural
Fisherman Fishermen
Workman Workmen
Boatman Boatmen
Man-of-war Men-of-war
Salesman salesmen

Part 2: but when “man” is just a part of the word, or it  refers to any ethnic group, race or civilian, there comes “s”.

Singular Plural
Mussalman Mussalmans
Brahman Brahmans
German Germans
Norman Normans

Rule 7:

“s” to be added when there’s a “ful” in the end.

Example:

singular plural
Handful Handfuls
Mouthful mouthfuls
Spoonful Spoonfuls
armful Armfuls
cupful cupfuls

Part 1: If compound noun contains several words,  “s” comes to join  with the main part of that noun.

Example:

Singular Plural
Brother-in-law Brothers-in-law
Passers-by Passers-by
Step-brother Step-brothers
Commander-in-chief Commanders-in-chief
Maid-servant Maid-servants

Part 2: in some cases,“s”comes in every part to make it so.

Example:

Singular Plural
Lord-justice Lords-justices
Man-servant Men-servants
Woman-servant Women-servants

Rule 8:

Besides, adding “s” only  in the end gets it done for few.

Example:

Singular Plural
Book-shelf Book-shelves
Book-case Book-cases
Major-general Major-generals
Poet-laurete Poet-lauretes
Forget-me-not Forget-me-nots

Rule 9:

Some singular nouns have no plural form, only used in singular.

Example:

Furniture
Scenery
Issue
Bread
expenditure

Rule 9:

Adversely, some  are always used as a plural form.

Example:

Mumps
Scissors
Trousers
Spectacles
Assets

Rule 10:

Though some nouns seem like singular, but actually they are plural.

Example:

Government
Peasantry
People
Cattle
Mankind

Rule 11:

Similarly, some nouns seem like plural though they are singular.

Example:

Physics
Politics
Ethics
News
Wages

Rule 12:

Some have the same singular and plural form.

Example:

Deer
Sheep
Species
Corps
Canon

Rule 12:

In case of letters, numbers and other symbols, it takes an apostrophe and s to change it.

Example:

Sam, write your g’s and y’s clearly.
John, add two 5’s and three 8’s.

Rule 13:

There is no specific rule for changing the number of pronouns. It’s all about memorizing.

Singular plural singular plural
I We Him/her Them
My Our Your Your
Mine Ours This These
Me Us That Those
You You It They
He/she they His/her their

 

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