What Is a Plural Noun? Usage Guide and Examples

definition of "plural noun" with four examples from the article
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Why have one cat when you can have two cats? Or ten cats? (We won’t judge — we love cats too.) Plural nouns show that you have more than one noun. But whether you’ve got two, ten, or a hundred cats (probably too many), plural nouns all have to work with the verbs in your sentence.

What Is a Plural Noun?

A plural noun describes two or more of a noun. The word plural comes from the Latin pluralis, meaning “belonging to more than one.” 

Examples of plural nouns include:

  • friends
  • cakes
  • offices
  • pickles
  • police officers
  • Corvettes
  • principles
  • hummingbirds

Regular plural nouns usually have an “s” or an “es” at the end, and they might use a determiner (a few friends, some pickles) or the specific number of nouns (two cakes, ninety-nine hummingbirds). For irregular plural nouns, such as calves, people, and cacti, it gets a little more complicated.

Using Plural Nouns With Plural Verbs

While adding “s” to the ends of plural nouns is helpful (and necessary), readers need a bit more in a sentence. That’s where subject-verb agreement comes in: Plural nouns require plural verbs.

  • Police officers give tickets to drivers who are speeding.
  • Corvettes are expensive.
  • Your ideas seem really smart.
  • These offices belong to a large corporation.

Plural Nouns vs. Singular Nouns

While plural nouns refer to lots of nouns, singular nouns only refer to one person, place, thing, or idea. You can make a plural noun into a singular noun by removing the “s” or “es” at the end.

Singular nouns use determiners such as a, an, the, or one to describe their singular status, and they always use singular verbs.

  • A police officer gives tickets to drivers who are speeding.
  • The Corvette is expensive.
  • Your idea seems really smart.
  • One office belongs to a large corporation.

Printable List of Plural Nouns

Keep this list of plural nouns handy for grammar and writing assignments. 

lists of plural nouns for people, places, things, and ideas

What Are Plural Nouns Printable 22

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Examples of People as Plural Nouns

When you’re describing more than one person, plural nouns can help you out. 

  • How many kids are playing soccer?
  • We met with several doctors to discuss John’s condition.
  • The baseball players celebrated their win.
  • Please tell the musicians to play my favorite song.
  • I have two grandmothers who live in Poland.
  • Our family visited the Smiths late this summer.
  • How many Liams were born in the year 2022?

Note that most of the time, common nouns for people are plural; proper nouns are almost always singular because they’re specific nouns (unless there happens to be more than one person with a particular name, such as Smiths or Liams.)

Examples of Places as Plural Nouns

Common nouns for places you’ll go, such as schools or pet stores, can be plural because there’s often more than one of them. Proper nouns for places (such as France or the San Fernando Mission) aren’t plural because there’s only one of them.

  • How many colleges did you tour?
  • I’d love to visit a few more museums on my trip.
  • These streets were once paved with cobblestones.
  • Will has worked at five different steakhouses in town.
  • These factories employ 45% of the people in the state.
  • All of the airports are closed due to the heavy rain.
  • Does your house really have three kitchens?

Examples of Things as Plural Nouns

Unlike people and places, plural nouns that refer to things often include both common nouns and proper nouns. Proper nouns for things usually include brand names.

  • I’ve seen six yellow taxis today.
  • Let’s get 24 cupcakes for the party today.
  • My uncle owns four Rolexes.
  • These frogs are actually poisonous.
  • Where can I buy balloons?
  • Three white Teslas drove past my house.
  • Look at all the beetles climbing up the tree.

Examples of Ideas as Plural Nouns

Most nouns that describe ideas (also called abstract nouns) take a singular form. However, there are a few plural nouns that can also describe ideas.

  • Respect our rights as citizens of this country.
  • Representatives from twelve governments came together to end the war.
  • There are many lives at stake.
  • I keep having dreams about losing my teeth.
  • Because Laura has been convicted of several crimes, she must go to prison.
  • It can be difficult to maintain long-term relationships.
  • You must face your fears before you can move on.

What Types of Nouns Can Be Plural?

Besides common and (some) proper nouns, several other types of nouns can also take plural forms. (Uncountable nouns are the only nouns that can’t be plural, since they only take a singular form in a sentence.)

Noun Type

Can It Be Plural?

Example

Common Noun

Yes

Two puppies wrestle together.

Proper Noun

Only when describing things or multiple people who share a name

Have the Andersons arrived yet?

Collective Noun

Only when referencing more than one group

Our families love camping together.

Countable Noun

Yes, when there’s more than one noun

How many pizzas did you order?

Possessive Noun

Yes (add only an apostrophe, no “s”)

That’s the boys’ cat.

Concrete Noun

Yes, when there’s more than one noun

Those purple flowers are in bloom.

Abstract Noun

Only if it’s countable

I expressed my beliefs in my essay.

Use Plural Pronouns To Replace Plural Nouns

Using the same plural noun in a sentence can feel clunky and repetitive. That’s where plural pronouns come in handy! Use they and them when discussing more than one person or thing that doesn’t include yourself (or the person you’re talking to). 

  • The students love their new teacher.
  • They love their new teacher.
  • All of the employees work together to finish the project.
  • They work together to finish the project.
  • I really want to buy those teapots.
  • I really want to buy them.

Plural Nouns Are Twice the Fun

Don’t settle for one milkshake or cheeseburger when you can have three milkshakes and five cheeseburgers (and one stomachache). Plural nouns multiply all the good things in life — so make sure you’re using them correctly in a sentence. Is it there is or there are when the noun is plural, anyway?