Singular and Plural Countable Nouns

These fall under the group Countable Nouns

Singular Countable Nouns:

When a noun is countable and 1 in number, it is considered a singular countable noun. Singular countable nouns DO NOT go alone. They must always be accompanied by either “a/an” or “the.” They NEVER go alone in a sentence.

For example, you cannot say,

I ate apple.

You must say,

I ate an apple.

Let’s see which nouns get the article “a” and which nouns get “an” in front of them. This is easy.

1. If a noun starts with a vowel sound, not just a vowel, but a vowel sound, then the article before such a noun should be “an.” For example, the letter “u” in the word “uniform” has a “yoo” sound, which is a consonant sound as “y” is a consonant. Hence, the word “uniform” doesn’t start with a vowel sound although it starts with a vowel. So, it gets “a” and not “an” before the noun. Be careful when assigning articles to such words.

Examples:

Egg – An egg
Apple – An apple
Elephant – An elephant
Honor – An honor. Here, “h” is silent and we pronounce the “o” sound in the word, which is a vowel sound. Thus, the article “an” is used.

2. If a noun starts with a consonant sound, it gets the article “a” before it. Remember, some words start with consonant sounds even if they start with a vowel (like the word “union”).

Examples:

Hobby – A hobby
Master – A master
Student – A student
Union – A union

Plural Countable Nouns:

A noun can be considered plural when it is more than 1 in number. Plural countable nouns shouldn’t get “a” or “an” before them. Plural countable nouns always GO alone.

For example, you cannot say,

She bought a candles.

You must say,

She bought candles.

There are different rules that dictate how to convert a singular noun into its plural form.

1. When a noun ends in s, ss, ch, sh, x, or o, add es to form its plural.

Examples:

Singular – Plural

Kiss – Kisses
Church – Churches
Clash – Clashes
Box – Boxes
Mango – Mangoes

2. If a noun ends in “y,” and “y” is preceded by a consonant, remove “y” and add “ies.”

Examples:

Rally – Rallies
Story – Stories

3. If a noun ends in “y,” but “y” is preceded by a vowel, simply add “s” to form its plural.

Examples:

Key – Keys
Trolley – Trolleys

4. When a noun ends in “f” or “fe“, remove “f” or “fe” and add “ves.”

Examples:

Knife – Knives
Life – Lives
Loaf – Loaves
Leaf – Leaves

5. There are nouns whose plurals are formed irregularly. There are no prescribed rules showing how to form their plurals. Such nouns are called “Irregular Nouns.” You just need to learn their plurals by heart.

Examples:

Man – Men
Woman – Women
Mouse – Mice
Child – Children

6. The rest of the types of nouns get an “s” in their plurals.

Examples:

Page – Pages
Son – Sons
Computer -Computers
Mile – Miles

Note: Uncountable nouns do not have any sub-divisions or types.