Plural nouns in English

Nouns used in their plural forms

In English there are nouns that are used only in the plural.

1. Pair nouns

Noun Sentence
jeans Where are my jeans?
glasses She has lost her glasses.
scissors These scissors don't cut well.

If you want to refer to an exact number, use a/one pair of, like in the following example.

  • I have bought a pair of jeans.
  • I have bought two pairs of jeans.

There are more nouns: binoculars, headphones, pyjamas, scales, shorts, tights, trousers.

2. Nouns not used in the singular (headwords)

Noun Sentence
cattle Male cattle are called bulls.
clothes He bought some new clothes yesterday.
stairs The children ran down the stairs.
wages The wages are paid on the last day of the month.
people * Three people were killed in the car crash last Friday evening.
police Look! The police are coming.

* The word people can be used in the singular with another meaning:

  • They are a friendly people.
  • The native peoples of Africa often have black skins.

3. Nationalities

The following nationalities (no -s) are used in the plural:

  • the Dutch
  • the British
  • the English
  • the French
  • the Spanish
  • the Welsh

The singular of the English would be the Englishman.