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Spelling Rules for Making Words Plural

When making words plural, why do you add S to some words but ES to others? And when a word ends with Y, how do you know whether to change the Y to I before adding the plural suffix? And why on earth does the word knife become knives?

You can unravel these mysteries with six scoops of ice cream. Just click the play button below for a yummy treat, and then read on for free printable spelling rule posters and sample lessons!

Ready to Dig In?

Whether you prefer your ice cream in dishes or in cones or with one cherry or two cherries, these tasty guidelines will help you spell plurals correctly every time.

Spelling Rule for Making Words Plural poster

Tips and tricks like these are taught throughout the All About Spelling program. Want to see more? Download these free resources to see just how easy teaching spelling rules can be.

download graphic for AAS Level 1 Lesson 16

Download All About Spelling Level 1, Step 23.

This lesson from All About Spelling Level 1 shows how we teach kids to make words plural by adding either S or ES.

download graphic for AAS Level 1 Lesson 16

Download All About Spelling Level 5, Step 17.

In this lesson from All About Spelling Level 5, you can see how we teach kids to pluralize words that end in F and FE.

spelling rules posters thumbnail

Download our free Spelling Rules Posters.

This handy resource will help make learning three important spelling rules fun and easy to remember for your children.

Do you think these guidelines for making words plural will improve your child’s spelling? Let me know in the comments below! And check out our other spelling rules, too!

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Tiffany Fortini

says:

Thank you! I have a question about a few words that end in o when adding an es or s. What about the words sombrero, avocado, mosquito, and echo. Is there a rule for these words? Thank you

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Tiffany,
I’m sorry, no. When a word ends a consonant plus an O, sometimes we add S and sometimes we add ES. There really isn’t a rule for when we do one or the other. We are left using a dictionary and just remembering which is correct for each word. Thankfully, in English words don’t often end in O.

Typically, in words of Spanish origin (sombrero and avocado) we just add an S, as that is how plurals are formed in Spanish. However, the word mosquito came into English pretty early (the 1500s or earlier), so we don’t keep the Spanish plural for it. In English, we spell it mosquitoes and in Spanish, they spell it mosquitos. This “generally” pattern holds true for words of Italian origin as well. That can be somewhat helpful if a student can recognize that a word has a Spanish or Italian origin.

And interestingly, while echoes is generally considered correct, at least some dictionaries claim either echoes or echos is correct. Sigh.

Good question. Thank you.

Lisa Phelps

says:

Thank you SO much, delete that error one please:)
These are great!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome, Lisa!

Peggy

says:

This is very useful!!!! Thanks so much!!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You’re so welcome, Peggy!

Elgie

says:

Thanks a lot, really informative.
Glad I found this post. TQ

Gerda Nel

says:

What an amazing way of explaining plurals! I am going to use it for my class. Thank you.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome, Gerda. Let me know if you have any questions or need anything else.

Manisha Acharya

says:

It is very good to teach to children..

Sugandhita

says:

Wow!! Even I being a parent didn’t knew this. Really helps! Thanks for sharing!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome, Sugandhita. I’m glad this was helpful for you.

Ileana Cucu

says:

This is a very good and helpful material. Funny and engaging. Thank you for sharing .

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You’re so welcome, Ileana! Let me know if you need anything.

Veronica Mihajlovic

says:

This is one of the best Spelling sites and programs I have seen. Engaging for home learning at this time. Just great, thank you!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Thank you, Veronica!

Noni

says:

Informative and interesting too

Carolyn

says:

Thank you for making these posters available for free! These will really help my special needs daughter.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You’re so welcome, Carolyn! 😊

Simeon kampandi

says:

Very helpful,how I wish I will be sent a series of topics for higher grades (8_12), am in Zambia, Lusaka

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Simeon,
I’m pleased you found this helpful. We have lots of blog posts with teaching help and free printables for spelling. You can see them here. One that is particularly well liked by older students is Teaching Latin Roots with Word Trees.

If there is a specific topic you are looking for, let me know.

Sussie Weyl

says:

Thank you!–I especially liked the plural poster.
Sussie

Pip Cloros

says:

The ice cream video was very helpful. Thank you.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome, Pip.

joy murphy

says:

Love all the spelling rules! They really help my daughter navigate the mystery that is spelling for her.

Monica Sitienei

says:

It’s very interesting to learn English pronunciation online,have gained a lot.

Elaine

says:

I am doing a reading course and these spelling rules are so much of a reinforcement. Thank you very much.

Lorraine Gilliam

says:

Thanks for the resources!

Mary

says:

Thanks, thanks and thanks again for your guidelines of spelling. I haven’t use them, however, I have no doubt it will help me and my grands.

Adebimpe

says:

Very good

Mini S Thomas

says:

Great tippy tips!

Manish

says:

Yes, they will certainly help.

Manish

says:

Very friendly

Lynda

says:

Thank you for creating these posters!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome, Lynda! 😊

Vicky

says:

This program has made our homeschooling so fun and dynamic all while unraveling all the strange English rules. We love all about reading/spelling and have used it for our 2 boys and will continue on to our 3rd!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

It’s so great to hear that All About Reading and All About Spelling are working so well for your boys and you, Vicky! 😊

Sally

says:

Love the cute posters.

Deanna

says:

Great posters.

Gina

says:

great resources. thank you!

Holly L

says:

This is a great resource. I am often asked why a word is spelled a certain way or why such and such a letter is silent. Sometimes I have an answer and sometimes I just shrug my shoulders because even I have no idea! The video clip of this on fb is really cute too.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Thank you, Holly!

If you are asked about why a word is spelled the way it is and you don’t know, just ask! I enjoy digging into the whys and whens of spellings.

Dawn G.

says:

I think this is a great activity to engage students in making words plural. My students have loved using this!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Dawn,
It’s wonderful that your students have enjoyed this poster! Thanks for letting us know.

Janine

says:

I love the graphics on this poster. It really helps my son visualize the rules.

Nicole

says:

My daughter will love this!

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