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In today’s class, we will be talking about the plural forms of noun. Enjoy the class!
Plural Forms of Noun
A noun is said to be plural when it refers to more than one of the entities that are regarded as countable. Did you get that?
Let me rephrase it. We use the plural for countable nouns when they are more than one.
Most countable nouns occur with an ‘-s’ suffix (boy+s = boys)
Since we don’t count mass (uncountable) nouns like we do count nouns, they don’t require an ‘-s’ ending. So it would be grammatically wrong to say: one water/petrol, two waters/petrols, etc. However, we can talk of little water/petrol, some water/petrol, a large quantity of water/petrol. Thus, with a mass noun, there’s normally no need to distinguish between a singular form and a plural form of a noun.
Note also that we do not necessarily need to distinguish between the singular and plural form of proper nouns. This is because – as you already learned – a proper noun is used to refer to a particular person, place or thing; not to something normally regarded as countable. We do not talk of one or more than one of a particular person, place or thing.
On the subject of pluralization, it is imperative that you dutifully note the following points:
- A plural countable noun or a mass noun can function on its own as subject or object without an article or a determiner.
Birds fly. (‘Birds’ functions as subject)
Birds lay eggs. (‘eggs’ functions as object)
- An uncountable noun can function on its own as the subject.
- A proper noun can function on its own as the subject.
- A singular countable noun does not normally function as a subject without a determiner or an article.
*Room stinks. (wrong)
The room stinks. (correct)
- Though plural nouns and uncountable nouns do not need to be modified by a determiner to be able to function as subject or object, they may also take a determiner:
The birds fly
Birds lay the eggs (i.e. particular eggs already mentioned)
- When the noun (functioning as subject) is singular, the verb is also singular.
The woman bakes cake.
Petrol burns easily.
- When the noun (functioning as subject) is plural, the verb is also plural.
The women bake cake
The twins swim very well
Note that a singular verb has an ‘-s’ suffix added to its base form while a plural verb does not.
- Not all nouns have the ‘-s’ as their plural marker. There are several other nouns whose plurals do not follow the rule for plural formation in the majority of nouns. Such plurals cannot be predicted from their singular forms. These other methods are called irregular plurals. They include such examples as child/children, foot/feet, man/men, sheep/sheep, ox/oxen. On the other hands. Plurals like boys, doors, etc, which follow the general rules, are known as regular plurals.
Provide the plurals of the following words:
In our next class, we will be talking about Word Modifiers. We hope you enjoyed the class.
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