Do you need help to form the plural in Spanish? Today I’m going to teach you how to do it!
Previously, I have talked about the grammatical gender in Spanish: nouns are divided into two masculine and feminine.
But nouns also have grammatical number, which indicates the amount of objects they are referring to.
The singular is the basic form, the one that you will find on a dictionary. On the other hand, to form the plural you need, at the very least, to add an -s.
However, there are some more rules you need to know to form the plural in Spanish.
Are you ready? Let’s go!
Singular and plural in Spanish
First, I’m going to list the four basic Spanish plural rules that you need to fully master the grammatical number, and then I’m going to talk about some special nouns.
1) Words ending with a vowel
When a singular word ends with a vowel, we add an -s to form the plural:
mapa → mapas
café → cafés
taxi → taxis
moto → motos
tribu → tribus
2) Words ending with a consonant
When a singular word ends with a consonant, we add an -es to form the plural:
árbol → árboles
león → leones
país → países
lápiz → lápices (words ending with -z change it for -c in plural: pez → peces)
rey → reyes
If the word ends with -y and comes from another language, we just add an -s: jersey → jerséis.
3) Words ending with -í or -ú
To form the plural of words ending with an accented -í or -ú, we can add an -s or -es, and both are correct:
maní → manís / maníes
ombú → ombús / ombúes
However, in educated language the ending -es is preferred over -s.
4) Words enging with -s or -x
Nouns that end with an -s or an -x after a non-accented vowel don’t vary. We can only know if they are singular or plural by using an article or pronoun:
el lunes (singular) → los lunes (plural)
la dosis → las dosis
la crisis → las crisis
el paraguas → los paraguas
el tórax → los tórax
Now let’s see some special nouns…
Plural in Spanish: special nouns
Spanish plural for uncountable nouns
Uncountable nouns can be singular when talking about the substance in general or an indefinite amount:
Tomar vino es bueno para el corazón. (= wine, a type of drink)
Or plural when talking about different types or units of that substance:
Me gustan todos los vinos: blanco, tinto, rosado, etc. (= types of wine)
Anoche solamente tomé dos vinos (= two cups of wine)
Other uncountable nouns are: agua (water), arroz (rice), carne (meat) , luz (light), pan (bread), té (tea), etc.
La gente: singular or plural?
There are nouns in singular, such as gente (people) or familia (family), that refer to a collective entity, but are always conjugated in singular:
comen come mucha carne en Argentina.
son indígenas es indígena.
Nouns that refer to things made of two parts, such as gafas (glasses), tijeras (scissors) or pantalones (pants or trousers), are usually used in plural: las gafas, las tijeras, los pantalones.
Prefiero las gafas negras.
Necesito las tijeras para recortar la foto. (= cut out)
Me gustan estos pantalones italianos.
From context, a native speaker will know if someone is talking about just one or several pairs.
But you can use these nouns in singular too, although it’s not really common with gafas.
Necesito la tijera para recortar la foto.
Me gusta este pantalón italiano.
And that’s all for today!
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