Number in Grammar | Number and Person - English Grammar

Hey guys, in this article you are gong to learn Number and Person. Previously, you learned Alphabet, Word, Sentences, though we have a lot to know about Sentences still. And please comment if you find this article helpful...


 Number is all about the counting noun in a sentence. Number, in English grammar, shows the number of persons in a sentence.

An apple a day keeps the doctors away.
 - here the word 'apple' denotes the number of apple - that is one apple.

Apples are not sweet.
-here also the noun 'apples' denotes the number of apples that is more than one apple.
  Number is of two types –
  • i) Singular Number  and
  • ii) Plural Number .

i) Singular Number – 

   It indicates only one person or object or animal. 

E.g-  boy , apple, mango, cow etc.

A singular noun, when used as the subject, agrees with a singular verb.

ii) Plural Number

   It indicates more than one person or thing or animal.

E.g.-  boys, apples, mangoes, cows.

A plural noun, when used as the subject, agrees with a plural verb.

Don't you know what a singular verb or plural verb is?

In case of action verbs,
The base form (V1) of a verb is considered as plural
and -
When '-s' / '-es' / '-ies' is added to the base form of a verb, it is considered as singular.

So, you can easily understand - 
Do, take, walk are plural, and
Does, takes, walks are singular.

Here are some simple rules to add  '-s' / '-es' / '-ies' to a verb.

On the other hand,
'Am', 'is', 'was', 'has' are singular auxiliary verbs as they are used with singular subjects.
'Are', 'were', 'have' are plural auxiliary verbs as they are used with plural subjects.

These were the definitions of singular number and plural number.

But do you know how to make a singular noun plural? 
Follow these rules... 👇

Rules to Make a Singular Noun Plural :-

 Rule -1:- 

Add '-s' to the singular word:

    To make a regular noun plural put an ‘_s’ to the end.

  E.g. -

Pigeon pigeons

Subject 'boy' takes a singular verb, 'boys' takes a plural verb.

The boy plays cricket. (Singular)
The boys play cricket. (Plural)

 Rule 2 :- 
Use apostrophe -s ('s)
The plural form of any letter or digit or any abbreviation are formed by adding apostrophe -s.

Singular Plural
A A's
B B's
4 4's
6 6's
C.A. C.A.'s
Shall Shall's
Must Must's

There are four O's in 'Odontology' . ✅
There are four Os in 'Odontology' . ❌

His 6's and 4's are the same. ✅
His 6s and 4s are the same. ❌

All the D.M.'s were invited. ✅
All the D.M.s were invited.❌

But in modern English, full stops after abbreviations are not used. So, to make them plural add only '-s' after them.
  • All the DMs were invited. ✅
  • His 6s and 4s are the same. ✅

 Rule 3 :- 

Add '-es'.

If  the noun ends with -s, -x, -z, -sh, -ch, add '-es' to make it plural.

box boxes
fox foxes
bus buses
glass glasses
dish dishes
bench benches
branch branches

 If the ‘-ch, at the end of a word, is pronounced as ‘-k’, then we have to add an ‘-s in order to make it plural.

Mornach mornachs
Stomach stomachs
Patriarch patriarchs
Matriarch matriarchs
Heirarch heirarchs
  • Monarch > monarchs.
  • Stomach > stomachs.

 Rule 4 :- 

Change 'f' or 'fe' into 'ves'.

If a noun ends with ‘-f’ or ‘-fe’ change this to ‘-ves’.

  • shelf – shelves
  • wife - wives
  • life - lives
  • knife - knives.

Add only an -s : 
  •  roof > roofs,
  •  proof > proofs, 
  • chief > chiefs etc.

* The words ending in ‘-ff’ add only -s.

  • Cliff > cliffs
  • Sniff > sniffs
  • Scoff > scoffs
  • Toff > toffs
  • Stiff > stiffs etc.

*Some words can be ended with either '-ves' or '-s' -

  • dwarf - dwarves / dwarfs.
  • scarf - scarves / scarfs.

 Rule 5 :- 

Replace -y with -ies.

 If a singular word ends in -y, then replace -y with -ies to make it a plural.

  •  City > cities 
  • Fly > Flies
  • Lady > Ladies.

If a word ends with -y, but there is a vowel right before it, then we have to add an ‘-s’ simply without changing anything.

  • Boy > Boys.
  • Toy > Toys.

 Rule 6 :- 

Add -s or -es where there is -o.

   If a word ends with -o, sometimes we add -s, sometimes -es. No specific rule is there for this case, we have to memorize the common plural form for them or follow dictionaries.

SingularPlural SingularPlural
Studio studios photo photos
video videos radio radios
piano pianos cameo cameos
portfolio portfolios canto cantos
memo memos bamboo bamboos
cuckoo cuckoos
-In this case, only -s is added to each word.

  • Mango > mangoes.
  • Potato > potatoes.
  • Tomato > tomatoes.
In this case -es is added after each word.

 Rule 7 :- 

Irregular Plural:

For some noun, there is no certain rule to make them plural, there are other words used in plural sense instead.

  • Man > men
  • Woman > women
  • Tooth > teeth
  • Foot > feet
  • Child > children
  • Mouse > mice
  • Ox > oxen.
  • Penny > pence etc.

 Rule 8 :- 

Zero Plural & Always Plural:

Zero plural:-

Some words have no distinctive singular or plural form. They are considered as singular number, hence agrees with a singular verb.

E.g. –
  • Curd,
  • Molasses,
  • Sheep,
  • Dozen, 
  • Hundred,
  • Thousand,
  • Million,
  • Billion,
  • Trillion,
  • Aircraft,
  • Deer etc.
She sold ten dozens bananas. (Incorrect)
She sold ten dozen bananas. (Correct)

This car costs eight thousands dollars. (Incorrect)
This car costs eight thousand dollars. (Correct)

Twenty thousands of people gathered in the rally. (Incorrect)
Thousands of people gathered in the rally. (Correct)

The government wasted fifty millions of dollars for nothing. (Incorrect)
The government wasted millions of dollars for nothing. (Correct)

Always Plural:-

Certain nouns are always exist in plural form and hence take  plural verbs.

E.g. –
Dress – Trousers, pants, jeans, shocks, shorts, breeches, shoes etc.

Articles – Scissors, Goggles, spectacles, sun-glasses, clothes, pyjamas, shorts, pants, knickers, pantaloons, trousers,  handcuffs, binoculars, clippers, tongs, cards (playing cards) , goods, etc.

Others – surroundings, congratulations, regards, alphabet, people, earnings, savings, assets, funds, arrears, thanks, upstairs, downstairs, tidings (news) etc.

Where is my trouser? (Incorrect)
Where are my trousers? (Correct

Here is your shoes. (Incorrect)
Here are your shoes. (Correct)

Don’t refuse to give some alm to the beggar. (Incorrect)
Don’t refuse to give some alms to the beggar. (Correct)

Save your earning for future. (Incorrect)
Save your earnings for future. (Correct)

 Others :- 

Plural in Form, Singular in Meaning:

Some nouns are plural in form but singular in meaning, actually they are singular, and takes a singular verb.

E.g. –

Subjects – Mathematics, Physics, Genetics, Environmental Studies, Economics, Politics, Ethics, Linguistics etc.

Games – dominoes, darts, draughts, billiards, tennis etc.

Diseases – rickets, rabies, shingles, measles, mumps, diabetes etc.

Books – Arabian Nights, Gulliver’s Travels.

Mathematics are my favourite subjects. (Incorrect)
Mathematics is my favourite subjects. (Correct)

Statistics are his favourite subject. (Incorrect
Statistics is his favourite subject. (Correct

Ethics are the philosophical studies of moral value. (Incorrect)
Ethics is the philosophical studies of moral value. (Correct)

Politics do not follow morality. (Incorrect)
Politics does not follow morality. (Correct)

Diabetes are very common now-a-days. (Incorrect)
Diabetes is very common now-a-days. (Correct)

The Arabian Nights are very popular among the children. (Incorrect)
The Arabian Nights is very popular among the children. (Correct)

Gulliver’s Travels are a book of adventure. (Incorrect)
Gulliver’s Travels is a book of adventure. (Correct)

Virat scored a century in the first inning. (Incorrect)
 Virat scored a century in the first innings. (Correct)

Singular in Form, Plural in Meaning: 

Certain nouns are singular in form but plural in meaning, and they are plural,  hence they take plural verb.

E.g. –
Cattle, cavalry, infantry, peasantry, folk, people, police, poultry, vermin, excreta, admiralty, nobility, tenantry, clergy, insignia, etc.

So, neither use a or an before them, nor make them plural by adding -s/-es.

A poultry / A cattle / An infantry / Poultries / Cattles / Infantries - All are wrong.

The cattle is grazing. (Incorrect
The cattle are grazing. (Correct

Poultry lays eggs. (Incorrect)
Poultry lay eggs. (Correct

Folk around here doesn't smoke. (Incorrect)
Folk around here don't smoke. (Correct)

The cavalry is marching towards the enemy. (Incorrect
The cavalry are marching towards the enemy.  (Correct

The gentry of my neighbourhood is kind. (Incorrect
The gentry of my neighbourhood are kind.  (Correct

The clergy is hard-working. (Incorrect)
The clergy are hard-working. (Correct)

The police catches the thief. (Incorrect
The police catch the thief.  (Correct

Is a collective noun singular? or is it plural?

collective noun may be a singular or a plural depending on the context of he sentence.

1.  A collective noun is a singular noun and is followed by a singular verb if it is used as a single body or group.
  • The jury is still out. Or, the jury was unanimous in its decision.
  • The family is living together now

2.  A collective nouns is used as a plural noun and is followed by a plural verb if they are used as individuals.
  • The jury were divided in their opinions.
  • The family were living in different places.

3.  Gentry, Clergy, Peasantry, People, audience, cattle, majority, folk etc. are some collective nouns which are always plural.

  • The people are happy with the performance of the Government.
  • The majority of the customers prefer it.

Confusions regarding numerical adjective:

The numbers - one, two, three, four... are numerical adjectives.
When a numerical adjective (one, two, three, four) joining with singular noun by a hyphen forms a compound word, then it acts as an adjective that is followed by a noun. 
And you should not make an adjective plural by adding -s/-es to it. 
E.g. -
  • I got a hundred-rupee note.
  • Ours is a three-room house.
In the above two sentences, hundred-rupee and three-room are adjectives for the nouns note and house respectively.

More examples,
  • A fifteen year old boy was standing there.
  • A three judge bench is formed.
  • The eight member committee is appointed to investigate the 

Compound Nouns:

You generally put -s/-es at the end of a noun to make it plural. But in case of compound noun, you have to add -s/-es to the main word of the noun.

Suppose, Brother is a noun, any you make it plural by putting an -s at the end of it - Brothers.

But here is a compound noun - Brother-in-law. 
Now how do you make it plural?
Brothers-in-law. As the main word here is 'Brother', we'll add -s to 'brother' not at the end of the compound noun 'brother-in-law'.


Brother-in-law Brothers-in-law.

Daughter-in-laws are still tortured in remote villages.Daughters-in-laws are still tortured in remote villages.
Mother-in-laws are usually conservative around rural area.Mothers-in-law are usually conservative around rural area.

Rupee or Rupees?

Rupee is singular and rupees is plural.
One rupee, two rupees, three rupees... 

Sometimes using rupee is appropriate, sometimes rupees. As -

I bought this for one rupee.
Mother gave me ten rupees today.
The ticket costs four hundred rupees.

When a numerical adjective (one, two, three, four...) joining with singular noun by a hyphen forms a compound word, then it acts as an adjective that is followed by a noun. And you should not make an adjective plural by adding -s/-es to it. 

She dropped a five-rupee coin.She dropped a five-rupees coin.
She dropped two five-rupee coins.She dropped two five-rupees coins.

People or Peoples?

Use peoples in stead of people when it refers to the peoples from different nations or the peoples of the whole world.

People of USA and UK are very kind. ❌
Peoples of USA and UK are very kind. ✅

Use people the world must unite. ❌
The peoples of the world must unite. ✅


Grammatical Person refers to one person or more, who either talk, or listen, or are talked about. Usually it is a noun or a pronoun.
*Three types of person are there:

  • First Person (speaker) :-

The person who says, is the First person (speaker).

  • Second Person (Listener) :-

The Person who is said to, is the second person (Listener).

  • Third Person (who is talked about) : -

The person who is said about, is the Third person (who or what is talked about).


i) First Person -

Who talk / talks - I, we, my, our, me, us, mine, ours.

ii) Second Person -

Who is/are talked to - you , your, yours.

iii) Third Person -

Who is/are talked about - He  she,  his, her, him, hers,  they,  their, theirs, them.

Now you must know that the persons can also be divided into those two numbers.

  Let's have a look at the chart below to know which category a personal pronoun belongs to...

Look at the picture above thoroughly and you can find out which personal pronoun belongs to which number and person...

Following the image, It is suggested that, if anyone asks you what the first person plural number is, then you have to answer -we or related to this - our, ours, us etc. 

In the picture above, the section of 3rd person singular number is bordered in red because it is very important. 

When we make a sentence, if the subject if the sentence is a third person singular number, then we have to make little change in the main verb, though it happens only in case of a simple present tense.

Please remember what that picture suggests are :-

  • First person singular number- I, me , my, mine, myself etc.
  • First person plural number- we, us, our, ours, ourselves etc.
  • Second person singular and plural number- you, your, yours, yourself (singular), yourselves (plural).
  • *Third person singular number- he, she, his, her, him, hers, himself, herself, it, itself, this, that, name of a person/a thing/a place etc.
  • Third person Plural number- they, them their, themselves etc.

Thank you...

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