Nouns: number of the nouns




1 . The polysyllabic nouns ending in consonant followed by non stressed vowel add a -s to build the plural: casa, casas; parque, parques, libro, libros; tribu, tribus; banco, bancos, etc.

Some nouns recently included in Spanish also follow the rule: babi, babis; casete, casetes; confeti, confetis; ovni, ovnis; penalti, penaltis; poni, ponis, etc.

2 The nouns ending in the consonants -d, -l, -n, -r and -z form the plural adding -es: ciudad, ciudades; césped, céspedes; cristal, cristales; peral, perales; camión, camiones; león, leones; mujer, mujeres; mar, mares; lápiz, lápices; nariz, narices, etc.

Also some foreign nouns recently included in Spanish follow the rule: barman, bármanes; chándal, chándales; claxon, cláxones; cóctel, cócteles; canelón, canelones; córner, córneres; cruasán, cruasanes; crupier, crupieres; dossier, dossieres; eslogan, eslóganes; esmoquin, esmóquines; estándar, estándares; faquir, faquires; misil, misiles; radar, radares; revólver, revólveres; somier, somieres; suéter, suéteres, etc.

In the case of the nouns ending in -z , when passing from singular to plural, this letter turns into -c; this way the same sound is retained. In Spanish is not possible the combination ze.

3 Some nouns of foreign origen or recent formation, ending in consonant add s: anorak, anoraks; ballet, ballets; bistec, bistecs; bloc, blocs; cámping, cámpings; carnet, carnets; chalet, chalets; complot, complots; coñac, coñacs; esnob, esnobs; fan, fans; iceberg, icebergs; póster, pósters; pub, pubs; ring, rings; robot, robots; souvenir, souvenirs; soviet, soviets; vermut, vemuts, etc.

Other nouns introduce little orthographic changes: frac, fraques; lord, lores; boulevards, boulevares; brandy, brandies; lady, ladies; panty, panties.

Some foreign nouns introduce several options in the formation of the plural: club, clubso clubes; tic, tiques o tics; álbum, álbums o álbumes. Others as láser and tándem do not have plural.

4 The llanos or esdrújulos nouns ending in -s or in -x, and the llanos or esdrújulos patronymics ending in-z have the same form for singular and plural: lunes, martes, miércoles, jueves, viernes, crisis, atlas, brindis, análisis, virus, nefritis, artritis, sintaxis, bíceps, chasis, campus, galimatías, énfasis, López, Martínez, tórax, dúplex, fénix, etc. The determiners used with the noun do indicate number.

El martes Los martes
Este campus Estos campus
La crisis Las crisis

These compound nouns also follow the rule: aguafiestas, cascanueces, cascarrabias, guardabarros, lanzallamas, cortafuegos, cortaplumas, cortaúñas, cumpleaños, espantapájaros, lanzagranadas, paracaídas, paraguas, portafolios, rompecorazones, sacacorchos, saltamontes, etc. The use of a determiner indicates the number.

Este sacacorchos Estos sacacorchos
El cortaúñas Los cortaúñas

5 The monosyllable and the agudos polysyllable words ending in -s add -es: país, países, mes, meses; res, reses; estrés, estreses; dios, dioses; autobús, autobuses; dos, doses; tres, treses; seis, seises,etc.

6 The agudos nouns ending in -ay, ey, -oy and -uey form the plural adding -es: ley, leyes; buey, bueyes; ay, ayes; convoy, convoyes; rey, reyes. Although the plural of jersey is jerséis; gay does not has plural and the plural of guirigay es guirigáis.

7 The few nouns ending in -au, -ui, -iau and -uau form the plural adding -s: miau, miaus; guau, guaus.

8 The rule of the Academia tells that the agudos polysyllable words ending in -á, -í or form the formal plural in –es: faralá, faralaes; maniquí, maniquíes; esquí, esquíes; rubí, rubíes; sefardí, sefardíes; champú, champúes; bambú, bambúes; tabú, tabúes; hindú, hindúes. Except: mamá, mamás; papá, papás.

However we tend to a plural more natural in -s: sofá, sofás; coñá, coñás; menú, menús; vermú, vermús; tabú, tabús; champú, champús; esquí, esquís; frenesí, frenesís; maniquí, maniquís; bisturí, bisturís; pirulí, pirulís, etc.

9 The agudos polysyllable words ending in or in form the plural adding -s: café, cafés; puré, purés; bidé, bidés; bisté, bistés; cabaré, cabarés; parqué, parqués; paté, patés; chalé, chalés; carné, carnés; chaqué, chaqués; chevió, cheviós; capó, capós; gigoló, gigolós; plató, platós, rondó, rondós; dominó, dominós, etc.

10 Some monosyllabic nouns ending in vowel form the plural adding -es: a, aes; e, ees; i, ies; o, oes; u, úes; sí, síes; no, noes, etc.

Others only add -s: be, bes; ce, ces; de, des; te, tes; ge, ges; do, dos; re, res; mi, mis; fa, fas,etc.

11 The nouns from Latin or Greek as memorándum, currículum, quórum, réquiem, vademécum, ultimátum, accésit, déficit, superávit, ídem, ítem, etc. may build the plural adding -s or without it. The Academia recommends not adding s; the determiner used with the noun indicates the number.

El ítem Los ítem

Some of these nouns have particular plural forms: ultimátum, ultimatos; referéndum, referendos.

12 Sometimes the plural may refer to men, men and women together, to two persons or more than two. This happens with nouns of relationships and titles.

Los padres

  1. Padre + padre + padre…Los padres trabajan fuera de casa y ven poco a sus hijos.
  2. Padre + madreLos padres de John son ingleses.
  3. (Padre + madre) + (padre + madre)…Los padres son responsables de sus hijos.

Los señores

  1. Señor + señor + señor…Los señores están en la biblioteca fumando.
  2. Señor + señora Los señores no están en casa; llame más tarde.
  3. (Señor + señora) + (señor + señora)…Los señores no trabajan.

In addition, the term hombre means varón, but also persona.

El hombre es más fuerte que la mujer. (Man)
El hombre es un lobo para el hombre.” (Person)
13 Some nouns are generally used in singular; this is the case of some abstract nouns: el este, el oeste, el norte, el sur, la sed, la salud, el caos, la nada, la inmortalidad, la caridad, la avaricia, etc.

14 The next nouns are mainly used in plural; some of them refer to a set of things, some others to things formed by two parts: alicates, anales, añicos, arras, bártulos, bragas, comicios, cosquillas, creces, efemérides, enaguas, enseres, esponsales, esposas, exequias, expensas, fauces, funerales, gafas, honras, ínfulas, maitines, mientes, nalgas, nupcias, pantalones, pertrechos, posaderas, serraduras, tenazas, termas, tijeras, tinieblas, tiquismiquis, víveres, etc.

15 Some words show a different meaning when adding a plural ending.

Adentros (= In someone’s mind)
Afueras (= Around a city or town)
Alrededores (= The area near somewhere)
Bienes (= Goods)
Celos (= Jealousy)
Ciencias (= Science)
Cortes (= The Spanish parliament)
Expectativas (= Expectations)
Honras (= Exequies)
Letras (= Humanities studies)
Mayores (= Ancestors)
Medios (= Means)
Modales (= Courtesy)
Partes (= Sex organs)
Posibles (= Wealth)

16 The collective nouns as gente, multitud, pueblo, vecindario, aristocracia, servidumbre, nobleza, burguesía, etc., agree with adjectives and verbs in singular.

17 The mountain chains and the groups of islands are in plural.

Las Canarias están frente a las costas africanas.

Los Pirineos separan a España de Francia.

18 Towns as Buenos Aires, Los Ángeles or Las Palmas are aparently a plural, but agree always in singular.

Las Palmas triplica sus habitantes en verano.

19 The proper names of person are not usually formed in plural, except in these cases:

  • Referring to a type of person: los Góngoras y Quevedos (refers to the poets) or los Hércules (refers to physically strong men).
  • Referring to works: los Picassos (the Picasso’s paintings).
  • Referring to a familly: los López, los Roca, etc.

20 The symbols form plural repeating the capitals.

Estados Unidos EE. UU.
Comisiones Obreras CC. OO.
Sus Majestades SS. MM.

21 The plural nouns use to retain the stressed syllable from the singular form. There are three exceptions:carácter, caracteres; régimen, regímenes; espécimen, especímenes.





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