Have you ever wondered why one mouse becomes two mice but one house doesn’t become two hice? Plurals in English can be tricky, and it’s no surprise that many of us trip over them from time to time. With awareness and practice, navigating this aspect of English, especially with plural forms, will become less daunting.
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Mistake 1: Adding ‘s’ to uncountable nouns
- “She offered me two advices.” Correct: “She offered me two pieces of advice.”
- “There are several sands in my shoes.” Correct: “There is a lot of sand in my shoes.”
Mistake 2: Irregular plurals
- “I have two childs.” Correct: “I have two children.”
- “There are many mans in the room.” Correct: “There are many men in the room.”
Mistake 3: Plurals in compound nouns
- “I saw two sisters-in-laws.” Correct: “I saw two sisters-in-law.”
- “He has three runners-ups.” Correct: “He has three runners-up.”
Mistake 4: Plural of words ending in ‘y’
- “I collected many flys.” Correct: “I collected many flies.”
- “She bought two candys.” Correct: “She bought two candies.”
Mistake 5: Words that remain the same
- “There are several fishes in the tank.” Correct (in most contexts): “There are several fish in the tank.”
- “I saw two sheeps grazing.” Correct: “I saw two sheep grazing.”
Mistake 6: Foreign plurals
- “He has two criterias.” Correct: “He has two criteria.”
- “I studied various bacterias.” Correct: “I studied various bacteria.”
Mistake 7: Plural acronyms and abbreviations
- “I have three DVD’s.” Correct: “I have three DVDs.”
- “She sent several SOS’s.” Correct: “She sent several SOSes.”
Mistake 8: Over-complicating plurals
- “There are several womens.” Correct: “There are several women.”
- “I met two gentlemans.” Correct: “I met two gentlemen.”
Mistake 9: Confusion between possessive and plural
- “The dogs’s bowl is empty.” Correct: “The dogs’ bowl is empty.”
- “The teachers’s lounge is on the left.” Correct: “The teachers’ lounge is on the left.”
Mistake 10: Double plurals
- “I have three mothers-in-laws.” Correct: “I have three mothers-in-law.”
- “She faced two cul-de-sacs’s.” Correct: “She faced two cul-de-sacs.”
Plurals can be puzzling, but with a keen eye and some practice, you can master them. Remember, languages are living entities, evolving and adapting over time. So while there might be rules, there are always exceptions to those rules. It’s what makes language both challenging and fascinating.
Why are some plurals irregular?
Irregular plurals often have historical or linguistic roots that make them deviate from standard rules.
Do all languages have confusing plurals like English?
While many languages have plural forms, complexity varies. English is notorious for its exceptions.
Are there any tricks to remembering plurals?
Mnemonics, rhymes, and regular practice can help.
Why do some words remain the same in plural form?
Some nouns, especially those related to animals and certain objects, don’t change in the plural to make distinctions clearer in context.
Is it common to make plural mistakes?
Absolutely! Even native English speakers make mistakes with plurals.
Are these mistakes prevalent among native speakers too?
Absolutely! Even those fluent in English sometimes stumble over the usage of plurals.