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Grammatical categories of nouns.

English Nouns have 2 grammar categories

The category of number

The category of case

The Category Of Number

This category indicates  whether one or more things is meant. Oneness is expressed by singular and more-than-oneness by plural forms.

All English nouns have form which corresponds to the structural type of the singular or plural. But not all of them have the grammatical category of number. Only count nouns are inflected for it. Only these nouns indicate whether the noun names one or more than one referent , that is ,are used in both numbers.

Grammatical numbers of English nouns are the singular and the plural. The basic form is the singular.The plural of almost all the counts is built by adding the inflexion -/e/s to the basic form /singular form/. In speech this inflexion is related in 3 variants: 

/s/ , /z/ , /iz/ depending upon the character of the preceding sound

  •  /s/ occurs after voiceless consonants , 
  • /z/ after voiced consonants and vowels ,
  • /iz/ after sibilants
  • /s/ cup-cups

cat –cats

/z/ bag-bags


/iz/ bus-buses




In nouns with the final –y preceded by a consonant –y changes into –i. The plural ending is –es



A small number of nouns have irregular plurals. They are

  • Man-men
  • Woman-woman
  • Goose-geese
  • Foot-feet
  • Tooth-teeth
  • Mouse-mice
  • Louse-lice
  • Child-children
  • Ox-oxen

In a number of nouns having a sound /f/ in the singular/spelled –f of –fe/ this sound changes into /v/ in the plural form and the ending –es is added.








There is no change of the sound in the plural of the nouns roof,proof,safe. Both variants are found in the nouns handkerchieves /-fs/ ,hoof-hooves/hoofs/ , scarf-scarfs /ves/

 The formation of the plural of nouns ending in / -o/

The plural of these nouns is built up by adding to the singular form the inflexion

/-es/ hero-heroes Negro-Negroes,tomato-tomatoes,potato-potatoes

/-s/ in:

  • nouns ending in 2 vowels /radio-radios,zoo-zoos/
  • in shortenings /photo-photos,kilo-kilos/
  • in musical terms of Italian origin /solo-solos,piano-pianos/


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