Count nouns have two forms: singular and plural.

Singular count nouns refer to one person or thing:

a book; a teacher; a wish; an idea

Plural count nouns refer to more than one person or thing:

books; teachers; wishes; ideas

Singular count nouns

Singular count nouns cannot be used alone. They must have a determiner:

the book; that English teacher; a wish; my latest idea

Plural forms

We usually add –s to make a plural noun:

book > books; school > schools; friend > friends

We add -es to nouns ending in –ss; -ch; -s; -sh; -x

class > classes; watch > watches; gas > gases; wish > wishes; box > boxes

When a noun ends in a consonant and -y we make the plural in -ies...

lady > ladies; country > countries; party > parties

…but if a noun ends in a vowel and -y we simply add -s:

boy > boys; day > days; play > plays

Some common nouns have irregular plurals:

Man > men; woman > women; child > children; foot > feet;
person > people

Plural count nouns do not have a determiner when they refer to people or things as a group:

Computers are very expensive.
Do you sell old books?




I've looked the word 'people' up in many dictionaries and known that it is plural. But I've heard that the word can be used in a singular sense as well. Can you please provide some information on this? Thank you.

Hello KrisArchibald,

It is possible in certain contexts to use 'people' to mean 'nation', 'tribe' or 'group' but it is quite rare. With this meaning it can be used in the plural form:

The peoples of Asia.

There are many diverse peoples in southern Africa.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Sir in the question "A lot of ________ use this street. Ans:lorries" why cant it be lorry if "of" is considered as "determinant".

Hello Varun,

'a lot of' is a unit and can't really be separated into different parts here; it's a quantifier that is used only with plural nouns or uncount nouns, so 'lorry' is not correct here.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Kirk,

Which one is the correct form "There is a lot of lorries" or "There are a lot of lorries"?
And I am confused as I found an app of British Council on Android mobile phone called Johnny Grammar. There was a sentence "We visited a farm that had a lot of sheep." I chose "sheeps" and it said that was wrong.


Hello Dan,

'A lot of' functions here as a quantifier, not as a noun phrase, and so the verb is determined by the noun which follows 'lot of'. If it is a plural noun then we use a plural verb. Here, the noun is plural ('lorries') so we use a plural verb ('are').

The problem with 'sheep' is that it is an irregular plural. We do not say 'sheeps', but 'sheep' - we use the same word for both singular and plural.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Sir,

May I know the plural of the word 'Staff'.

Thank you

Hello ms shiitake,

'staff' can mean different things, but when it refers to people, it indicates a group of people. It doesn't normally have a plural form when used in this sense, though the verbs that follow it can be singular (when the group is thought of as a singular group) or plural (when we think more of the people in the group than the group itself).

When it has other meanings, the plural form is 'staffs' or 'staves' – check a good dictionary.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Now I know. Thank you so much for the explanation Sir.