Singular nouns that end in -s

There are a number of nouns which end in -s and form plural forms by adding -es:

bus — buses
lens — lenses.

There are some exceptions:

1. Some nouns ending in -s are used in the singular only:
a) news: The news is bad.
b) some games: billiards, bowls
Billiards is my favourite game.
c) some proper nouns:
e.g. Brussels or the United States when considered as a unit:
Brussels is the capital of Belgium.

2. Some nouns ending in -s occur in the singular but the plural is also possible:
a) some diseases: measles, mumps
b) subject names ending in -ics:
e.g. linguistics, classics are used in the singular but when they do not refer directly to a science they occur in the plural:
eg. statistics — We cannot rely on these statistics. They don't seem to be accurate enough.
acoustics — The acoustics are very bad in this hall. This is not a good place for the concert.

3. Some nouns ending in -s are followed by a singular verb when they refer to one unit, or by a plural verb when they refer to more than one:
e.g. means, species
There is no good means to obtain the aim.
Different means have been used to obtain the aim.

4. Summation plurals
This term denotes tools and articles of dress consisting of two equal joined parts. Such nouns are used in the plural but in the construction a pair of... they occur in the singular:
e.g. bellows, glasses.
a pair of glasses

5. Pluralia tantum
These are nouns that are always followed by a plural verb:
e.g. the Middle Ages, annals.

In English there is a group of singular nouns that end in s. Although one may think that a plural verb should be used with such nouns, one should remember that these nouns are followed by a singular verb. Below you can find a list with examples of singular nouns that end in s.

  • Uncountable nouns
  • acoustics
  • aerobics
  • aerodynamics
  • aeronautics
  • athletics
  • classics
  • economics
  • electronics
  • genetics
  • linguistics
  • logistics
  • mathematics
  • mechanics
  • obstetrics
  • physics
  • politics
  • statistics
  • thermodynamics
  • billiards
  • bowls
  • cards
  • darts
  • diabetes
  • measles
  • mumps
  • rabies
  • draughts
  • skittles
  • rickets
  • shingles
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