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Irregular plural nouns: -f to -ves plurals

Not all English nouns can be made plural only by adding an "s" to the end. These are called irregular plurals. Many words that end in "f", like "leaf", "loaf", and "calf", change their sound when they become plural: "leaves", "loaves", and "calves".

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Video transcript

- [David] Hello, grammarians. Today, we're going to be talking about the irregular plural. Previously, I had said that if you take any English word, any noun, say the word dog, and you tack an S onto the end of it like so, boop, you get the word dogs. And that's how you form the plural in all cases. I was lying, sorry. It turns out that English is a little bit more complicated than that. While adding an S to things is the way you usually make things plural, sometimes there are other changes. And sometimes you don't even pluralize using an S at the end, but we're not gonna talk about that now. That's for another time. What I wanna talk about today is the most basic kind of irregular plural. So we have the difference in English between regular and irregular plurals. And remember, a plural is when there's more than one of something. It comes from the Latin plus, which means "more." As opposed to the singular when there is just one of something. You know, one dog, two dogs. So there's a handful of words in English, and it really is a handful, that don't pluralize regularly. Words like "leaf" and "loaf" and "calf," that's a baby cow. If you try to pluralize these as though they were regular plurals, you're gonna return something that is not correct, or at least is not conventional within modern standard American English, right? So "leafs," for example, unless you're talking about the Toronto hockey team, is not correct. In fact, the proper term, boop, boop, boop, boop, boop, boop, is in fact "leaves." It is not "loafs," but "loaves." Tasty loaves of bread. It is not "calfs," but "calves." So there are several different kinds of irregular plurals. That's why this video is called Part I, but I'm only going to cover one such irregular plural today, and that is the change from singular f to plural ve An important caveat, an important exception here is double-f. Words like "cliff" or "sheriff" or "sniff," do not change to ve or ves in the plural. They become "cliffs," "sheriffs," "sniffs." There are exceptions to that too, right? Like "staff" to "staves." But for the most part, double-f doesn't change to ve. Single f mostly does, right? That's the general rule. Singular word, ends in f, the plur will be ves. "Leaf" to "leaves," "loaf" to "loaves," "calf" to "calves." Generally, for the most part. English, ah, so silly. Who's driving this thing? We love it though. You can learn anything. David out.