Plural-Only Nouns: Rules and Examples

More content

Nouns are an essential part of the English language. In fact, they take up a considerable chunk of English. Some nouns only have a plural form; they don’t have a singular shape. These are called plural-only nouns. Nouns only in the plural are mostly related to clothing and tools because these types of nouns are made up of two distinct parts.

Before we learn about plural-only nouns, let’s look more into what makes a noun plural. Then, we will give a wealth of examples of plural-only nouns.

Examples Of Plural Nouns

Most nouns can be singular and plural, where the word changes depending on whether we want to pluralize or singularize it.

When looking at plural nouns and singular nouns, there are a few specific rules to keep in mind.

  • Singular nouns refer to one thing or person. For example, Danny bought a soda. 
  • Plural nouns refer to more than one thing or person. For example, Danny bought three sodas.
  • Some nouns don’t change their structure, regardless of how many of those things we’re talking about.
  • Some nouns are plural-only.

Examples of plural nouns

  • Cups
  • Lives 
  • Girls and Boys
  • Series (doesn’t change when singular)
  • Species 
  • Cities
  • Sheep (doesn’t change when singular)
  • Women
  • Leaves 
  • People (not people’s)
  • Phenomena

Grammar - Tips and Tricks

When it comes to constructing a sentence using plural nouns, it’s important to remember that most singular nouns simply need an -s to be added at the end to pluralize them.

  • To make regular nouns plural, we add an -s at the end.
  • If a singular noun ends in -s, -sh, -x, -z, or -ss, add an -es at the end.
  • When a noun ends in -fe or -f, we change the -f to -ve and add an -s. See loaves.
  • If a singular noun ends in -y and the noun ends in a consonant, we change the -y to -ies.
  • If a singular noun ends in -y and the noun ends in a vowel, we change the -y to -s.
  • When a noun ends in -o, add -es to make it plural. 
  • If a noun ends in -on, we add an -a at the end.

There are plenty more exceptions and rules when it comes to plural nouns. However, now we’ll look into nouns only in plural so you can spot them.

Examples of Plural-Only Nouns

We’ve discovered that nouns can be plural and singular, but some nouns are plural-only or plurale tantum in Latin. They usually fall into either of these two categories.

  • Clothing
  • Tools and equipment 

With plural-only nouns, we use plural pronouns and plural verbs.

  • They
  • Them
  • We
  • Us
  • Ourself
  • Yourself
  • Themselves

Word examples of plural-only nouns

  • Pants
  • Clothes
  • Glasses (Not to be confused with the glass you drink out of) or Spectacles.
  • Tongs
  • Tweezers
  • Sunglasses
  • Headphones
  • Panties
  • Scissors 
  • Belongings (the items that you own)
  • Leggings
  • Goggles
  • Stirrups 
  • Long johns 
  • Nylons
  • Jeans

Some plural-only nouns aren’t related to clothing or tools.

  • The blues
  • Hysterics 
  • Outskirts
  • Surroundings  
  • Shenanigans (trick or sneaky behavior)
  • Congratulations 
  • Genitals
  • Savings (Only when talking about a savings account at the bank)

English nouns that are only in plural usually refer to things that have two separate parts, especially when it comes to clothing. For example, pants have two legs. You can’t have one side of the pants without the other.

There are also plural-only nouns that relate to groups of people.

  • Police
  • Folk
  • Health

Note: If you want to talk about one item when using plural-only nouns, you can use phrases like...

  • A pair of 

Example Sentences With Plural-Only Nouns

  • I love listening to the blues.
  • Where are the tweezers?
  • The biggest mall is on the outskirts of the city.
  • Where did I put my sunglasses?
  • Have you got any clothes that need washing?
  • There are police everywhere.
  • Congratulations on your new job!
  • She’s got new glasses.
  • Will you quit your shenanigans?
  • I need to go to the bank to check out my savings account.
  • Be careful of your surroundings when roaming around. It can get a bit sketchy.
  • I love your jeans, where did you get them?
  • Be aware of your belongings in big cities. 
  • You need to look after yourself; your health is important.

Tips and Tricks

There are a few things to remember when thinking about nouns only in the plural form.

  • Some nouns can have different meanings. One meaning may be plural-only, but with other meanings, it could be singular or plural.
  • Some nouns will always be plural-only, especially when referring to clothing items.
  • With plural-only nouns, we use plural pronouns and plural verbs.
  • If you want to talk about one item when using plural-only nouns, you can use phrases like "a pair of."

Check out our other content while you’re here. We have plenty of articles whether you want to learn about English Idioms, Idioms For Kids, or even other types of English nouns.

Noun-related Topics: