Learn Spanish for free in our Spanish Blog ~ Number agreement in nouns
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Grammatical number: singular, plural

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In previous posts we talked about gender agreement (feminine or masculine) between nouns and the words that accompany them. In this post, we will look at number agreement between these same words.

Number is a characteristic grammatical property of nouns and other words such as adjectives, determinants, etc. It can be singular (casa) or plural (casas). In the case of nouns (substantives), the number tells us if there are one or more beings.

The singular does not have any special form, however, plurals can vary greatly, although they are generally formed by adding -s or -es to the end of words in the singular form.

There are some general rules for forming plurals:

  • Nouns ending in an unstressed  vowels (-a, -e, -i, -o, -u) and in -á, -é, -ó, form the plural with -s.

La oreja 👂 – las orejas 👂👂                        El sofá  🛋 – los sofás🛋🛋

El coche – los coches                                       El café – los cafés

El alioli – los aliolis

El número – los números                               El dominó – los dominós

El espíritu – los espíritus

  • Nouns ending in -í, -ú, form the plural with -s and -es.

El bisturí – los bisturís – los bisturíes

El iglú – los iglús – los iglúes

¡Cuidado!

Excepciones: el esquí – los esquís / el menú – los menús / el champú – los champús

  • Nouns ending in consonant are formed with the plural -es. Except for words ending in -as, -es, -is, -os, -us (atones), these words do not change. Words that end in -z, change z> c when they form the plural.

El limón – los limones                     El paraguas – los paraguas

El árbol – los árboles                        El lunes – los lunes

El alud – los aludes                           El análisis – los análisis

La flor – las flores                             El rascacielos – los rascacielos

El país – los países                            El virus – los virus

El francés – los franceses                  

La ley – las leyes                                El pez – los peces

  • Proper nouns are rarely used in the plural, but if it’s necessary to do so, it is done the same way as discussed above with common nouns. In the case of compound nouns, only the second becomes plural.

Hay una Ana en mi clase.         Hay una Ana María en mi clase.

Hay tres Anas en mi clase.        Hay tres Ana Marías en mi clase.

As we said at the beginning, the words that accompany the nouns must agree with them in number. Plural nouns must be must be accompanied by adjectives and determinants that are also plural.

El coche rojo – Los coches rojos. 

Mi mesa es grande. – Mis mesas son grandes.

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