Some English words that do not accept plural markers

Some English words that do not accept plural markers

Plural markers are affixes or letters added to singular nouns to make them plural. Once a plural marker is added to a singular noun, that noun becomes countable. The plural markers of English are: 's,' 'es,' 'ves' and 'ies' as in 'boy - boys', 'church - churches', 'thief - thieves' and 'lady - ladies'. Although most English nouns form their plurals with these letters, there are still a handful of English nouns that do not subscribe to this school of thought. They form their plurals with letters other than the ones mentioned above. For example, we have 'men' and 'oxen' as the plural forms of 'man' and 'ox' respectively.

Some English words that do not accept plural markers

However, there are other nouns that do not accept any of the aforementioned plural markers. These nouns cannot be pluralized, but most English users tend to pluralize them due to ignorance. Nouns that constitute this category are proper, uncountable and collective nouns.

Some of these nouns are:

1. Ammunition
'Ammunition' does not take a plural -s, but most English learners always say 'ammunitions.'
The troop was supplied with weapons and ammunition.

2. Blame
When 'blame' is used as a noun in a sentence, it is uncountable, that is, it cannot be pluralized. For example, 'She received blame from her parents because of her reckless attitude', not 'She received blames...'

However, when used as a verb in a sentence, its singular verb carries -s if the subject of the sentence is a singular subject. For example, 'She blames her parents for her misfortune.'

3. Cutlery
'Cutlery' comprises spoons, knives, forks etc., so you don't say 'cutleries,' say 'cutlery'. For example, 'Enough cutlery was not provided by the cook.'
4. Furniture
You are expected to say 'furniture' at all times, not 'furnitures.' If you want to make it countable, you should use partitives. For example, 'A lot/A piece of furniture...'

5. Information
This word does not take an -s, but some will still say 'some informations' or 'an information.'
I am patiently waiting for the latest information.

6. Luggage
Say: His mom checked all his luggage before leaving.

Don't say: His mom checked all his luggages before leaving.

7. Beard
Say: Tammy shaved off his beard.

Don't say: Tammy shaved off his beards.

A person has a beard. "Beards" implies different people, each with a beard. For example, 'Tammy and Reuben were told to shave off their beards.'

8. Equipment
This word is an uncountable noun, so it does not need a plural marker. Therefore, you should stop saying 'equipments.'

9. Elite
Although it does not accept an –s, it is often used with a plural verb. I often hear people say 'educated elites' or ‘he is an educated elite.' 'Elite' is not an individual person. It means 'a group of persons,' so adding -s to it is unacceptable.
Tammy is among the elite of his country.

Although it does not accept an –s, it is often used with a plural verb.

10. Chalk
You don't say 'chalks' except there are different types or colours of chalk. Otherwise, say 'Get me a piece or packet of chalk' or 'There is a lot of chalk in my school bag.'

11. Advice
When you use 'advice' as a noun to mean 'counsel', it has no plural form. For example, 'The advice my dad gave to me is second to none.'

12. Underwear
This word is an uncountable noun; therefore, it does not require any plural marker. It means clothes worn next to the skin, e.g., underpants, boxers, shorts etc.
Underwear is the most boring thing that one could ever receive as a birthday gift.

13. Slang
Always say 'slang,' not 'slangs' irrespective of the number of slangy expressions.

14. Vocabulary
'Vocabulary' is a collection or list of words and their meanings. Therefore, you don't say 'the vocabularies of the English language' but 'the vocabulary of the English language.'

However, you can use 'vocabularies' when referring to two or more languages. For examples, 'There is a similarity between the vocabularies of the Izon languages.'

15. Damage
When 'damage' means destruction, it is an uncountable noun hence does not require –s. For example, 'The recent flood in Benue state caused a lot of damage or much damage to houses.'

However, you use 'damages' when it is an amount of money paid or claimed in compensation for destruction, and this can only be used in legal context. For example, 'The chief Judge awarded Tammy a large sum of money for damages.'

16. Jewelry/Jewellery
If you are among those who say 'jewelries' or 'jewelleries,' please stop it. You can either say 'My younger sister took away some of my mom's precious jewelry/jewellery' or 'My younger sister took away some of my mom's precious jewels.'

17. Machinery
It is very wrong to say 'machineries.' Always say 'machinery' or 'machines.'

18. Mail
'Mail' chiefly means a collection (usually a bag) of letters, so you should avoid adding –s to it irrespective of the number.
  • Don't forget to pick up the mail on your way.
19. Cattle
This is a collective noun and can never take -s.
During the drought, we lost a lot of cattle.

It is important you save or bookmark this page because we will keep updating it as we get new words. Do you have other English words that do not require plural markers? Kindly use the comment box to state them, and we will add them to the list after confirmation.