Monday, March 21, 2011

Editing for Grammarphobes: Plurals

The plurals of most nouns are formed by adding an s. When the noun ends in a soft ch or in s, sh, j, x, or z, however, add an es.


If the noun ends with a y preceded by a consonant, the plural is formed by replacing the y with ies.

babies and specialties, but toys, not toies, right?

Most compound nouns that are written as one word take the plural in the usual way. But, hyphenated and open compounds are made plural by adding the s to the element that is subject to change in number.

mother-in-law becomes mothers-in-law, not mother-in-laws
masters of art
doctors of history 

The Chicago Manual of Style, 14th edition. Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, 1969

Coming Up
On Wednesday, I will continue our series on influential female authors for Women’s History Month. Can you guess who is up next?

Although best remembered for her novel that swayed public opinion, and quite possibly the future of an entire country, this author also wrote nineteen other books and several essays.


Travis Haselton said...

needed this one, thanks!

Karen Wojcik Berner said...

Hi, Travis.

Glad I could help. Good to hear from you.

Travis Haselton said...

good to be here