Forming plurals - Easy Learning Grammar Spanish
1 Plurals ending in -s and -es
- In English we usually make nouns plural by adding an -s to the end (garden → gardens; house → houses), although we do have some nouns which are irregular and do not follow this pattern (mouse → mice; child → children).
TipRemember that you have to use los (for masculine nouns) or las (for feminine nouns) with plural nouns in Spanish. Any adjective that goes with the noun also has to agree with it, as does any pronoun that replaces it.
- To form the plural in Spanish, add -s to most nouns ending in a vowel (a, e, i, o or u) which doesn’t have an accent.
|el libro||the book|
|los libros||the books|
|el hombre||the man|
|los hombres||the men|
|la profesora||the (female) teacher|
|las profesoras||the (female) teachers|
- Add -es to singular nouns ending in a consonant (any letter other than a vowel).
|el profesor||the (male) teacher|
|los profesores||the (male/male and female) teachers|
|la ciudad||the town/city|
|las ciudades||the towns/cities|
- Note that some foreign words (that is, words which have come from another language, such as English) ending in a consonant just add -s.
|el disc-jockey||the DJ|
|los disc-jockeys||the DJs|
- Words ending in -s which have an unstressed final vowel do not change in the plural.
|el paraguas||the umbrella|
|los paraguas||the umbrellas|
|el lunes||(on) Monday|
|los lunes||(on) Mondays|
- For more information on Stress, see Stress.
- Most singular nouns ending in an accented vowel add -s in the plural, but those ending in í (and sometimes ú) usually have two possible plurals: with -es or -s.
|el café||the café|
|los cafés||the cafés|
|el sofá||the sofa|
|los sofás||the sofas|
|el jabalí||the boar|
|los jabalíes or jabalís||the boars|
Grammar Extra!When nouns are made up of two separate words, they are called compound nouns, for example, el abrelatas (meaning the tin-opener) and el hombre rana (meaning the frogman). Some of these nouns don’t change in the plural, for example, los abrelatas, while others do, for example, los hombres rana. It is always best to check in a dictionary to see what the plural is.
2 Spelling changes with plurals ending in -es
- Singular nouns which end in an accented vowel and either -n or -s drop the accent in the plural.
|la canción||the song|
|las canciones||the songs|
|el autobús||the bus|
|los autobuses||the buses|
- Singular nouns of more than one syllable which end in -en and don’t already have an accent, add one in the plural.
|el examen||the exam|
|los exámenes||the exams|
|el joven||the youth|
|los jóvenes||young people|
- Singular nouns ending in -z change to -c in the plural.
|la luz||the light|
|las luces||the lights|
|la vez||the times|
|las veces||the times|
3 Plural versus singular
- A few words relating to clothing that are plural in English can be singular in Spanish.
|una braga||(a pair of) knickers|
|un slip||(a pair of) underpants|
|un pantalón||(a pair of) trousers|
- A few common words behave differently in Spanish from the way they behave in English.
|un mueble||a piece of furniture|
|unos muebles||some furniture|
|una noticia||a piece of news|
|unas noticias||some news|
|un consejo||a piece of advice|
|unos consejos||some advice|
- Add -s to form the plural of a noun ending in an unaccented vowel.
- Add -es to form the plural of most nouns ending in a consonant.
- Drop the accent when adding plural -es to nouns ending in an accented vowel + -n or -s.
- Add an accent when adding plural -es to words of more than one syllable ending in -en.
- Change -z to -c when forming the plural of words like luz.
- A few common words are plural in English but not in Spanish.