Language Structures #5 – How to use Singular and Plural Nouns?

How to use Singular and Plural Nouns

Nouns can be singular or plural. When you are talking about one person, animal, place, or thing, use a singular noun.

Example :

a glass

a cup

a book

an orange

a pencil case

an air balloon

Use a or an before singular nouns.

Use an before words beginning with vowels (a, i, u, e, o).

Example :

an apple

an eagle

an umbrella

an igloo

an apricot

an eraser

But some words don’t follow this rule. For example, use a (not an) before these words that begin with u:

Example :

a uniform

a university

Use a before words beginning with the other letters of the alphabet, called consonants.

Example :

a basket

a spoon

a hill

a rainbow

a watch

a zoo

But some words don’t follow this rule. For example, use an (not a) before these words that begin with h :

Example :

an heir

an honor

an hour

When you are talking about two or more people, animals, places, or things, use plural nouns.
Most nouns are made plural by adding -s at the end. When the last letters of singular
nouns are ch, sh, s, ss or x, you usually add -es to form the plural.

Example : watches, branches, dresses, foxes

Nouns like these are made plural by changing y to i, and adding -es. See example below

Example ; butterflies, flies, stories, strawberries

What if there is a vowel before the y? In that case, add -s to form the plural.

Example : monkeys, turkeys, toys, donkeys

Source : Basic English Grammar, for English Language Learner by Anne Seaton & Y.H. Mew