Singular and plural nouns

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A Singular noun means one item only.
Examples of singular nouns are:
* bed
* boy
* girl
* book

The plural form of most nouns is created simply by adding the letter s.
* more than one snake = snakes
* more than one ski = skis
Words that end in -ch, x, s or s-like sounds, however, will require an -es for the plural:* more than one witch = witches
* more than one box = boxes
Note that some dictionaries list "busses" as an acceptable plural for "bus." Presumably, this is because the plural "buses" looks like it ought to rhyme with the plural of "fuse," which is "fuses." "Buses" is still listed as the preferable plural form. "Busses" is the plural, of course, for "buss," a seldom used word for "kiss."There are several nouns that have irregular plural forms. Plurals formed in this way are sometimes called mutated (or mutating) plurals.
* more than one child = children
* more than one woman = women
And, finally, there are nouns that maintain their Latin or Greek form in the plural. (See media and data and alumni, below.)
* more than one index = indices (indexes is acceptable)* more than one appendix = appendices (appendixes is acceptable)
* more than one criterion = criteria
*Note the pronunciation of this word, crises: the second syllable sounds like ease. More than one base in the game of baseball is bases, but more than one basis for an argument, say, is also bases, and then we pronounce the word basease.
A handful of nouns appear to be plural in form buttake a singular verb:
* The news is bad.
* Gymnastics is fun to watch.
* Economics/mathematics/statistics is said to be difficult.
Numerical expressions are usually singular, but can be plural if the individuals within a numerical group are acting individually:
* Fifty thousand dollars is a lot of money.
* One-half of the faculty is retiring this summer.
And anotherhandful of nouns might seem to be singular in nature but take a plural form and always use a plural verb:
* Her scissors were stolen.
* The glasses have slipped down his nose again.
When a noun names the title of something or is a word being used as a word, it is singular whether the word takes a singular form or not.
* Faces is the name of the new restaurant downtown.
* Okies,which most people regard as a disparaging word, was first used to describe the residents of Oklahoma during the 1930s.
When a family name (a proper noun) is pluralized, we almost always simply add an "s." So we go to visit the Smiths, the Kennedys, the Grays, etc. When a family name ends in s, x, ch, sh, or z, however, we form the plural by added -es, as in the Marches, the Joneses, the Maddoxes,the Bushes, the Rodriguezes. Do not form a family name plural by using an apostrophe; that device is reserved for creating possessive forms.
When a proper noun ends in an "s" with a hard "z" sound, we don't add any ending to form the plural: "The Chambers are coming to dinner" (not the Chamberses); "The Hodges used to live here" (not the Hodgeses).
We use an apostrophe to create plural forms intwo limited situations: for pluralized letters of the alphabet and when we are trying to create the plural form of a word that refers to the word itself. Here we also should italicize this "word as word," but not the 's ending that belongs to it. Do not use the apostrophe+s to create the plural of acronyms (pronounceable abbreviations such as laser and IRA and URL*) and other abbreviations. (Apossible exception to this last rule is an acronym that ends in "S": "We filed four NOS's in that folder.")
* Jeffrey got four A's on his last report card.
* Towanda learned very quickly to mind her p's and q's.
* You have fifteen and's in that last paragraph.
Notice that we do not use an apostrophe -s to create the plural of a word-in-itself. For instance, we would refer to the "ins...
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