Ah, singular and plural nouns. Sometimes, they're easy to write. Other times, they can be quite confusing. For example: Do you write it as mother-in-laws or mothers-in-law?

For many nouns, the rules are quite simple. You just add -s. Flower becomes flowers and book becomes books. If the noun ends in y, you change it to -ies. Berry becomes berries and activity becomes activities.

Flower becomes flowers.

If the noun ends in -ch, -s, -sh, -x, or -z, you just add -es. Church becomes churches, bus becomes buses, fox becomes foxes. There's an exception: if the -ch ending is pronounced with a k sound, you just add -s. Stomach becomes stomachs.

There are other exceptions and other rules, but they all are about adding a letter or several letters at the end of the word.

What about the plural form of mother-in-law? If you think it's mothers-in-law, you are right! In this case, there are many mothers, not laws!

In the case of many hyphenated nouns, like mother-in-law, attorney-at-law, and editor-in-chief, you add -s to the first word.

Below are more examples of hyphenated nouns and their plural forms:

• parent-in-law – parents-in-law
• father-in-law – fathers-in-law

• daughter-in-law – daughters-in-law

• son-in-law – sons-in-law

• attorney-at-law – attorneys-at-law

• editor-in-chief – editors-in-chief

• commander-in-chief – commanders-in-chief

• doctor-in-residence – doctors-in-residence

The simple rule is: With most compound nouns, make the more important word plural.

We'll write more about the plural form next time. Keep following the Learntalk blog!

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