Singular & Plural Subjects

Changing Medical Singular to Plural

Words that end in a particular sound change undergo the following changes when they are changed to plural forms:

Prefixes Singular Plural
a > e Vertebra (singular) Vertebrae (plural)
is > es Diagnosis (singular) Diagnoses (plural)
ex / ix > ices cervix (singular) Cervices (plural)
on > a criterion (singular) Criteria (plural)
um > a bacterium (singular) Bacteria (plural)
us > i bronchus (singular) Bronchi (plural)
itis > itides Arthritis (singular) Arthrides (plural)
nx > nges Phalanx (singular) Phalanges (plural)
y > ies therapy (singular) Therapies (plural)
x > ces Thorax (singular) Thoraces (plural

Read

  1. Vortex – Vortices
  2. Apex – Apices
  3. Cortex – Cortices
  4. Metastasis – Metastases
  5. Diagnosis – Diagnoses
  6. Anastomosis – Anastomoses
  7. Prosthesis – Prostheses
  8. Cervix – Cervices
  9. Appendix – Appendices
  10. Sarcoma – Sarcomata
  11. Fibroma – Fibromata
  12. Ganglion – Ganglia
  13. Spermatozoon – Spermatozoa
  14. Thrombus – Thrombi
  15. Bronchus – Bronchi
  16. Alveolus – Alveoli
  17. Embolus – Emboli
  18. Calculus – Calculi
  19. Diverticulum – Diverticula
  20. Therapy  – Therapies
  21. Biopsy – Biopsies
  22. Larynx – Larynges
  23. Meninx  – Meninges
  24. Phanlnx – Phalanges

More General

  • Focus – foci (also focuses)
  • Radius – radii (also radiuses)
  • Fungus – fungi
  • Nucleus – nuclei
  • Cactus – cacti
  • Alumnus – alumni
  • Octopus – octopi (or octopuses)

Rules

Some English nouns are identical in both the singular and the plural forms. Many of these are names for animals.

  • Sheep
  • Fish
  • Deer
  • Moose
  • Swine
  • Shrimp
  • Trout

For a variety of historical reasons, some words change in spelling substantially when made plural.

  • Louse – lice
  • Mouse – mice
  • Ox – oxen
  • Child – children
  • Person – people (Never write “peoples”)
  • Penny – pence (in British usage)

Singular Plural (vowel change)

  • Foot feet
  • Tooth teeth
  • Goose geese
  • Man men
  • Woman women

Plurals of words ending in -o are usually made by adding -es.

  • Potato potatoes
  • Tomato tomatoes
  • Hero heroes
  • Torpedo torpedoes
  • Veto vetoes

Singular (-f, -fe) Plural (-ves)

  • Knife knives
  • Life lives
  • Wife wives
  • Calf calves
  • Leaf leaves

NB: Exceptions: roofs and proofs (among others).

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Written by Biju John

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