Sunday, 4 August 2013

Tell Me, What Is The Plural Of 'inglés'?

Introduction
This post is about plurals in general and more specifically the plural of words ending in -s when the stress/ accent is on the last syllable.





SCENARIO
Imagine you are talking to a relative, a friend or a colleague. Maybe you are studying Spanish together. The other person appears to have a doubt about the plural of a Spanish noun or adjective and says to you something like: "tell me, what is the plural of 'inglés'?".

In Spanish, the other person could choose to be less formal and say to you:
Dime, ¿cuál es el plural de 'inglés'?

On the other hand, he/ she could choose to be more formal and say to you:
Dígame, ¿cuál es el plural de 'inglés'?


OUR TIP
The question is an invitation for you to state the plural form of a Spanish noun or adjective. When you state the plural form of a Spanish noun or adjective, you do not need to be concerned about the level of formality in the other person's question. Your main concern should be about communicating the plural of the Spanish word in question.

Here are some examples of how you could reply:
  • El plural de 'inglés' es ingleses* (the plural of 'inglés' is 'ingleses');
  • Creo que el plural de 'inglés' es ingleses* (I believe the plural of 'inglés' is 'ingleses');
  • Me parece que el plural de 'inglés' es ingleses* (I think the plural of 'inglés' is 'ingleses');

Now you should practise replying to someone who says to you:
Dime, ¿cuál es el plural de 'inglés'?

*Please see grammar topic below- plurals/ words ending in an -s when stress is on the last syllable.

Grammar-Plurals

Summary Introduction
Spanish plurals are summarised in table 1 below.

Singular
Plural
casa house casas houses
rubí rubi rubíes/ rubís rubis
canción song canciones songs
compás rhythm/ beat compases rhythms/ beats
crisis crisis crisis crisis
voz voice voces voices
Table 1 – Spanish Plurals

For further details on Spanish plurals, see below

Spanish Plurals
Forming the plural of a given Spanish word depends mainly on whether the word ends in a vowel or a consonant.
  • The plural of a word ending in a vowel is formed by just adding an -s to the singular form of the word in question.
  • The plural of a word ending in a consonant is formed by adding -es to the singular form of the word in question.

Examples of the use of these basic rules along with the main exceptions are outlined in the notes below.

    1. Words Ending In A Vowel (except stressed or )*
Examples of plurals of words in this group are:
Singular
Plural
Singular
Plural
casa casas house houses
llave llaves key keys
taxi taxis taxi taxis
pato patos duck ducks
tribu tribus tribe tribes
mamá mamás mum mums
comité comités committee committees
dominó dominós domino dominoes

*NB Exceptions to this group are the words ending in stressed -í or -ú which are considered in 2 below.


    2. Words Ending In Stressed Vowels -í or -ú
Examples of plurals of words in this group are:
Singular
Plural
Singular
Plural
rubí rubíes/ rubís* ruby rubies
tabú tabúes/ tabús* taboo taboos
israelí
israelíes/ israelís*
Israeli Israelis
síes yes yes

*NB It should be noted that the plurals resulting from simply adding an -s to the singular of these words are often considered a less 'polished' form of Spanish language.


    3. Words Ending In A Consonant (except -s or -z)*
Examples of plurals of words in this group are:
Singular
Plural
Singular
Plural
pared paredes wall walls
cárcel cárceles jail jails
papel papeles paper papers
certamen certámenes** contest contests
pantalón pantalones*** trouser trousers
color colores colour colours
rey reyes king kings

*NB Exceptions are considered in 4 and 5 below.
**NB Some words gain an accent in their plural form.
***NB Some words loose the accent in their plural form.


    4.- Words Ending In The Consonant -s
There are two groups of words in this category:
  • Words ending in -s with the stress on the last syllable. Examples of plurals of words in this group are:
Singular
Plural
Singular
Plural
compás compases* rhythm/ beat rhythms/ beats
francés franceses* French (singular) French (plural)
inglés ingleses* English (singular) English (plural)

*NB Words with an accent in their singular form loose it in the plural form.

  • Words ending in -s with the stress not on the last syllable. Examples of plurals of words in this group are:
Singular
Plural
Singular
Plural
crisis crisis crisis crisis
lunes lunes Monday Mondays
viernes viernes Friday Fridays
miércoles miércoles Wednesday Wednesdays


    5.- Words Ending In The Consonant -z
Examples of plurals of words in this group are:
Singular
Plural
Singular
Plural
voz voces voice voices
coz coces kick (horse) kicks (horse)
precoz precoces precocious (singular) precocious (plural)
veloz veloces speedy (singular) speedy (plural)

Now you should practise the use of plurals with some examples of your own.

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