The plurals of most English nouns
Just take an S, like kings and crowns.
Some, to avoid phonetic clashes,
Add an E, as in eyelashes.
Children and oxen are a pair
In which the Saxon N's still there.
A few change vowel sounds, like mice;
Some interpose a letter (dice).
Quite often Y becomes IE,
While F may change (or not) to V.
Scissors and clothes are plural only;
People is unique and lonely.
In the case of sheep and deer,
A plural form does not appear;
Likewise, when humans are disdained,
The singular may be retained:
The Hun, the Turk, the infidel,
Whom hostile tribes desire to quell.
In deference to Latin form,
Cacti and algae are the norm,
Bacteria and referenda,
Magi, radii, corrigenda.
Saints' stigmata are a freak,
Which, like schemata, comes from Greek.
From Hebrew, as in many a hymn,
Are cherubim and seraphim.
Italian endings are profuse
(Not pluralized in English use),
Like macaroni and spaghetti,
Tagliatelle and confetti.
Adjectives may serve as nouns,
And many a foreign learner frowns
Because the dead, the old, the young
Have plurals in his native tongue,
While family names like the Malones
Are singular to Francophones.
No matter: when all's said and done,
These strange anomalies are fun;
Our language has a high degree
You have words - now what do you do with them?
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