Sunday, June 2

Mutant Nouns




Have you ever watched any of the movie series called “X-Men”?



X-men” was originally an American superhero comic book (in Japanese, manga) before it became a series of films.



It tells the story of “mutants,” or people with strange changes in their DNA. These changes give “mutants” special abilities and powers but at the same time make ordinary humans fear and hate them.


C 20th Century Fox



Well, in English grammar, we also have what we call “mutants.”



Mutant” also refers to Nouns that have irregular Plural forms.



What does this mean?



Well, in English, it’s generally easy to change Nouns into Plural form. Oh, by the way, Plural just means “many.”



For example, we say:


1 apple ==> 2 apples

1 table ==> 3 tables

1 student ==> 7 students



Easy, right? We just add the letter "s" at the end of the word. This is the most common way to make Nouns become Plural.



Sometimes, a Noun ends in the letters “-s,” “-ss,” “-sh,” “-ch” and “-x.” In this case, we add “es” at the end of the word.



For example,


bus ==> buses

kiss ==> kisses

wish ==> wishes

punch ==> punches

fox ==> foxes

etc.



And, when the Noun ends in the letter “y,” we often make the Plural by first changing "y" to "i" and then adding “-es.”


Ex.


baby ==> babies

story ==> stories

country ==> countries

secretary ==> secretaries

etc.




Mutant Plurals



Like what we said above, some Nouns have what we call “Mutating Plurals.” Because they don’t follow the common rules and, instead, they have unique Plural forms.



These kinds of Nouns are hard for English learners to study. In fact, the only way to learn them is to memorize them.



Below, I have divided the many “Mutant Plurals” into groups, making them easier for you to remember.



Take a look:




Group 1: Changing Vowels



With this kind of Nouns, when we make them Plural, we should change the vowels inside the word. Like these:



Singular

Plural
foot
feet
goose
geese
man
men
mouse
mice
tooth
teeth
woman
women



Similarly, any Compound Noun that has the word “man” or “woman” also follows this pattern.


Ex.


policeman ==> policemen

chairwoman ==> chairwomen

etc.



By the way, the Plural of “mouse (computer)” is either “mouses” or “mice.” Both forms are listed in English dictionaries and used by the general public and professionals alike.



image courtesy of stock.xchng




Group 2: Using “-Ves”



The Nouns in this group end in the letter “f.” So we should drop the letter “f” and add “-ves” at the end.


Ex.


Singular

Plural
calf
calves
elf
(this is me!)
elves
half
halves
hoof
hooves
knife
knifes
leaf
leaves
life
lives
loaf
loaves
self
selves
shelf
shelves
thief
thieves
wife
wives
wolf
wolves



These are HOOVES. (image courtesy of stock.xchng)



In the title of the fairytale “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” the word “dwarfs” is in fact correct because it is the original Plural form of “dwarf.” Its rule is similar to:



roof ==> roofs

dwarf ==> dwarfs

etc.



But a British writer, J.R.R. Tolkien, most well-known for his work “The Lord of the Rings,” made the word “dwarves” popular. This is why some people are more familiar with this form these days.



These are DWARVES. (C Warner Brothers)




Group 3: Using “-Oes”



If the Noun ends in the letter “o,” we usually add “-es” at the end. Like these:



Singular

Plural
echo
echoes
hero
heroes
potato
potatoes
tomato
tomatoes
torpedo
torpedos



But sometimes, a Noun that ends in “o” will take the letter “s” alone. Like these:



Singular

Plural
auto
autos
kangaroo
kangaroos
kilo
kilos
memo
memos
photo
photos
piano
pianos
studio
studios
tattoo
tattoos
video
videos
zoo
zoos



Lastly, some Nouns that end in the letter “o” can take either “-es” or “-s” at the end. It doesn’t matter which one you use.



Like these Nouns:



Singular

Plural
buffalo
buffaloes / buffalos
cargo
cargoes / cargos
mosquito
mosquitoes / mosquitos
tornado
tornadoes / tornados
volcano
volcanoes / volcanos
zero
zeroes / zeros




Group 4: No Change



This is our 4th and last group of “MutantPlurals.



This group includes Nouns that don’t change their form when they are Singular (one) and when they are Plural (many). We use the same word for both.



A number of animal names belong to this group.



Take a look:



Singular

Plural
bison
bison
deer
deer
fish
fish
moose
moose
series
series
sheep
sheep
swine
swine




In Summary



In summary, all the Nouns that I have taught you are special. Because they do not follow the normal rules to make them Plural.



Like I said, the only way to learn these kinds of “mutantNouns is to commit them to memory. Fortunately, because I have already divided them into a few useful groups here, it’s a bit easier for you to do this task now.





Hope You Learned Something!
Keep on learning !











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