Plurals: Spelling Review Study Guide (page 3)

Updated on Aug 25, 2011

Plural Rule #7: Words without plurals

The plural form of some animal names is the same as the singular form. You can see one fish or many fish. Other animal names that have the same singular and plural forms include:

  • bison
  • deer
  • moose
  • sheep

The words series and species are also the same in the singular and plural.

Plural Rule #8: Irregular plurals

Some words don't follow any rules. Okay, this is not so much a rule as it is a list of words whose plurals just don't make any sense. All you can do with these words is—you guessed it—memorize them.

Irregular Plurals

Singular Plural
alga algae
apparatus apparatuses
beau beaux
child children
die dice
foot feet
genus genera
goose geese
louse lice
man men
mouse mice
nebula nebulae
person people
tableau tableaux
that those
tooth teeth
this these
vertebra vertebrae
vita vitae
woman women

Even with these words, you will see some patterns that can help you put the words into groups. For example, a few different words that end in -a add an -e when forming plurals, and all of the words in the list that have oo in the middle change the oo to an ee in the plural form. (Be careful you don't do the same thing with moose, which is the same in its singular and plural forms. You would see a bunch of moose, not a bunch of meese!)

Also, keep in mind that although the plural of man is men and the plural of woman is women, the plural of human is humans.


SOME WORDS CAN be pluralized in a few different ways. In many cases, common words that follow irregular rules of pluralization can also be pluralized according to the -s and -es rule. Words that have two different accepted plural forms include:

Singular Plural
antenna antennae, antennas
appendix appendices, appendixes
buffalo buffalos, buffaloes
cactus cacti, cactuses
dwarf dwarfs, dwarves
fungus fungi, funguses
hippopotamus hippopotami, hippopotamuses
hoof hoof hoofs, hooves
index indices, indexes
radius radii, radiuses
scarf scarfs, scarves
syllabus syllabi, syllabuses
symposium symposia, symposiums
zero zeros, zeroes
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