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.

Examples
fingers
churches
foxes
bosses


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

Examples 
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.

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


Source 
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?

Hint 
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.

3 comments:

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