Plural Spelling Rules

Using Plurals
Rules to help spell plurals 

Add an ‘s’  This is the most common way to make a plural (eg bike- bikes). 

Words ending in ‘y’ If there is a consonant before the ‘y’, change the ‘y’ to ‘i’ before adding ‘es’ (eg lady - ladies).
If there is a vowel before the ‘y’, just add ‘s’ (eg toy - toys). 

(Vowels: the five vowels in the alphabet are a e i o u. Consonants: all the other letters in the alphabet that are not vowels are called consonants)
Words ending in ‘x’, ‘sh’, ‘ch’, ‘s’ or ‘ss’  For words ending in ‘x’, ‘sh’, ‘ch’, ‘s’ or ‘ss’ add ‘es’ (eg church = churches). 

Words ending in ‘f’ or ‘fe’  For most of these words, change the ‘f’ or ‘fe’ to ‘v’ before adding ‘es’ (eg leaf - leaves).
Watch out for the words that don’t fit this rule: eg chief - chiefs. To help work out the exceptions to the rule, listen for the change in the sound when you say the word.  

Some exceptions: roof = roofs, chief = chiefs, belief = beliefs, chef = chefs, cafe = cafes, handkerchief = handkerchiefs, safe = safes.
Irregular plurals  Irregular plurals are plural word forms that don’t follow any of the plural rules! For example:


Last modified: Friday, 6 March 2020, 9:55 AM