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6 rules for forming the plural of nouns in Spanish

Today, we will talk about the plural in Spanish. In particular, we will talk about the plural when referred to nouns. Let's start this lesson with a little quiz. Do you know what is the plural form of the following nouns?:

 

1. Casa (house)

2. Perro (dog)

3. Universidad (university)

4. Lápiz (pencil)

5. Jabalí (wild boar)

6. Análisis (analysis)

 

If you are not sure about how to make a singular noun plural in Spanish, we invite you to take a look at the following simple rules. While going through these rules, we will be unveiling the plural form of the 6 nouns we included in our quiz. Let's take a look.

 

Rule 1: Add an 'S' to form the plural of nouns ending in unstressed vowels

 

- Casa (house) - Casas (houses)

- Estudiante (student) - Estudiantes (students)

- Perro (perro) - Perros (dogs)

 

Se escucha un perro.

You can hear a dog.

Caption 43, Conversaciones en el parque Cap. 2: Cafe y bocadillos

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Tus perros también son muy bonitos.

Your dogs are very beautiful too.

Caption 58, Conversaciones en el parque Cap. 2: Cafe y bocadillos

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Rule 2: Add an 'S' to form the plural of nouns ending in stressed 'a,' 'e' and 'o'

 

- Papá (dad) - Papás (dads)

- Dominó (domino) - Dominós (dominoes)

- Café (coffee) - Cafés (coffees)

 

y les voy a mostrar el proceso de control de calidad de café de Colombia.

and I'm going to show you the quality-control process for coffee from Colombia.

Caption 5, Una Historia de Café La Bodega

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Cada uno de estos cafés tiene distintas cualidades tanto físicas como sensoriales

Each one of these coffees has different qualities both physically and sensorially.

Caption 14, Una Historia de Café La Bodega

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Rule 3: Add 'ES' or 'S' to form the plural of nouns ending in stressed 'i' and 'u'

 

- Bisturí (scalpel) - Bisturíes or bisturís (scalpels)

- Jabalí (wild boar) - Jabalíes or jabalís (wild boars)

- Tabú (taboo) - Tabúes or tabús (taboos)

 

Generally speaking, however, it is preferred to use the plural formed with 'ES'.

Also, this rule is very common when you are dealing with adjectives of nationality:

 

- Iraní (Iranian) - Iraníes or iranís (Iranians)

 

Rule 4: Add 'ES' to form the plural of nouns ending in consonant

 

- Árbol (tree) - Árboles (trees)

- Profesor (teacher) - Profesores (teachers)

- Universidad (university) - Universidades (universities)

- Rey (king) - Reyes (kings)

 

La rata esta es el rey de la estafa por allá en Europa.

This rat is the king con artist over there in Europe.

Caption 45, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 1 - Part 1

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Actualmente es la residencia oficial de los reyes de España,

Currently, it's the official residence of the King and Queen of Spain,

Caption 23, Madrid Un recorrido por la capital de España

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Notice that the singular noun árbol has a graphic accent in the second-to-last syllable (palabra grave). However, when you form the plural, the graphic accent moves to the third-to-last-syllable becoming a proparoxytone word (palabra esdrújula). Similarly, singular nouns like profesor and universidad that are stressed in the last syllable (palabras agudas) become paroxytone words (palabras graves) in the plural form. 

 

Rule 5: When a noun ends in 'Z,' the plural form switches the 'Z' for a 'C'

 

- Lápiz (pencil) - Lápices (pencils) 

- Raíz (root) - Raíces (roots)

- Voz (voice) - Voces (voices)

 

Tengo muy buena voz,

I have a very good voice,

Caption 91, Los casos de Yabla Problemas de convivencia - Part 2

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vuelven esas voces a mi cabeza.

those voices come back to my head.

Caption 37, El Aula Azul La Doctora Consejos - Subjuntivo y condicional

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Rule 6: Nouns ending in 'S' or 'X' that are the same in singular and plural in Spanish.

Paroxytone or proparoxytone nouns ending in 's' or 'x' keep the same form in plural. Let's see some examples:

 

- Cactus (cactus) - Cactus (cactuses/cacti)

- Tórax (thorax) - Tórax (thoraxes/thoraces)

Análisis (analysis) - Análisis (analyses/tests)

 

y en un análisis de nuestras debilidades, oportunidades, fortalezas y amenazas.

and an analysis of our weaknesses, opportunities, strengths and threats.

Caption 37, Raquel y Marisa Español Para Negocios - Crear una empresa

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para hacerle los análisis de sangre, de heces,

to do the blood tests, stool (tests),

Caption 54, Santuario para burros Santuario - Part 1

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That's it for now. We hope these rules help you to use the plural in Spanish. If you feel like practicing a little bit more, take 20 nouns and try to form their plural forms. And of course, don’t forget to send us your feedback and suggestions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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