• Grammar & Vocab

Verbs / spelling: When do we add ‘s’ and ‘es’ to verbs in the present simple?

In the third person ( he, she, it ) we ad ‘s’ or ‘es’

When to use ‘ies’, be careful.

When a verb ends in -ay, -uy, -oy or -ey, the 'y' doesn't change to 'i':

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carlos alfredo - October 28, 2022, 8:38 pm Reply

Thank you , very easy explanation

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Anonymous - November 3, 2022, 8:49 pm Reply

Thank you very much

Anonymous - February 5, 2023, 3:41 pm Reply

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mr bombastic - February 24, 2023, 8:46 pm Reply

so good so good to much work but it’s good to learn.

name - February 24, 2023, 8:48 pm Reply

that’s good guys.

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Verbs with “s”, “es” and “ies” in Present Simple tense Third person singular rules

Try our new video lesson, it explains how to use the “ s “, “ es ” and “ ies ” rules very clearly, leave a Comment , Share , Subscribe and L ike please: 

How and when to form Verbs ending in “s” in the Present Simple tense

In the present tense, there are  are two present simple verb forms   the verb to be or other verbs ..

Other verbs in the   Present Simple verb form    in the 3rd (third) person singular

We add “s”, “es” or “ies” at the end of the verb.

There are three ways to make the “ S form”:

–           by adding “ s ” to the end of a verb (run > run s, s it > s it s, see > see s, play > play s )

–           by adding “ es ” to the end of the verb that has a sibilant sound – ss, ch, x, tch, sh, zz (wa tch > watch es , gue ss > guess es, mi x > mix es )

–           by changing final “y” to “ ies ” after a consonant+y (stu dy > stud ies , par ty > part ies , f ly > fl ies )

–       irregular forms 

Extended table: more examples of verb + s; es, ies

* Look at the table below to see the difference between verbs finishing with vowel + y (stay, play etc) and verbs finishing with consonant + y (cry, fly, study, worry etc)

Think about these verbs, what group do they go in?

spy, rush, get, play, tax, employ, sew, follow, fight, boil, deny, meet, look, reach, display, pass, fry, echo, teach, ask, touch, kiss, send, buy, fax, mix, hiss

Extended table: Check your answers of verbs with “s” “es” and “ies” here


Here you can compare it with the Present Continuous

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What is the Third person singular
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The Exceptions of '-s' and '-es' Plurals

The general rule in modern English of pluralizing nouns with the suffixes -s and -es descends from Anglo-Saxon (also known as Old English ), an early language that is distantly related to German. That language is also the source of the rule of forming past tenses of verbs by adding -d or -ed , and of much of our more common vocabulary, such as the irregular verbs ( eat , drink , sleep , run , swim , fight , bring , do , make , etc.), and function words like articles, prepositions, and pronouns. English is known for having many rules—as well as many exceptions, left turns, and downright headaches. Although adding -s or -es to form a plural sounds simple enough, there are cases in which it is not so straightforward.

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Tomatoes. With an '-es.' We'll explain why later.

The most basic rule is to pluralize a noun by adding the suffix -s (as in voters ); however, if the noun ends in -s , -x , -z , -sh , or -ch (with the exception—see, we already have an exception—of words ending in -ch pronounced with a hard k , like monarchs and stomachs ), the suffix -es is added in order to create an extra syllable to pronounce the plural—as in goddesses , anticlimaxes , blitzes , flashes , and torches . That's pretty easy to apply in one's writing, but not all nouns follow the general pattern. For example, there are the common singular nouns used unchanged as plurals ("caught two fish"), compound words in which the first element is sometimes pluralized and sometimes not ( runners-up , close-ups ), and words ending in -y and -o that only take the suffix -s ? These exceptions became so common that grammarians were forced to lay out rules for the them.

The names of many fishes, birds, and mammals have both a plural that is formed with a suffix and one that is identical with the singular ( partridges and partridge are plural forms and so are caribous and caribou ). On the other hand, some have only one or the other: the plural of monkey is only monkeys ; the plural of the fish known as shad is shad . Generally, those who hunt, fish for, or raise animals are most likely to use the unchanged form, and the -s form is often used to emphasize diversity of kinds. So whereas a fisherman would say "I caught three bass," a scientist would say "I'm researching the various basses of the Atlantic Ocean."

Most compounds that are made up of two nouns—whether they appear as one word, two words, or a hyphenated word—form their plurals by changing the final element only; a word like bookcase is pluralized as bookcases , book club as book clubs , and bird-watcher as bird-watchers . Nouns that are made up of words that are not nouns also form their plurals on the last element, as in the plurals breakthroughs and tip-offs . But you already knew that. Things get a bit more complicated than this, though.

If a compound is made of a noun with the -er suffix and an adverb , only the noun element is pluralized. This means that hanger-on becomes hangers-on , onlooker becomes onlookers , and passerby becomes passersby . For a compound made up of two nouns separated by a preposition, the first noun is pluralized to form the plural, as in attorneys-at-law , chiefs of staff , and bases on balls . And compounds made up of a noun followed by an adjective are usually pluralized by adding -s to the noun, as when heir apparent becomes heirs apparent . But if the adjective tends to be understood as a noun, the compound may have more than one plural form. In this way, both poets laureate and poet laureates are acceptable.

The question of whether to use the plural suffix -s or -es sometimes arises in those words ending in -y . Basically, if the noun ends in a "consonant + y ," the -y is changed to -i- and -es is added ( babies ); if the noun ends in a "vowel + y ," an -s is added ( galleys ). There is an exception in the case of "vowel + y ": words ending in -quy . Colloquy , for example, becomes colloquies and soliloquy becomes soliloquies . The -s suffix only applies to nouns ending in -ay , -ey , or -oy ( parkways , donkeys , alloys ). Another exception is the rule for proper nouns ending in -y , which is to add an -s —hence, Sundays , Bloody Marys , and Januarys .

Relatively speaking, the rule governing the pluralization of nouns ending in -o is simpler. Nouns ending in "consonant + o " take an -es ( tomatoes ); those ending in "vowel + o " take an -s ( ratios ). However, the rule has been broken countless times in regard to "consonant + o " words. Zeroes/zeros , cargoes/cargos , haloes/halos , and tornadoes/tornados are all established plurals, and there are many, many more. Nouns formed by shortening, such as combo and rhino , also break the rule since they tend to have plurals only in -s , as do many (but by no means all) words of very obvious foreign origin, such as kimono and espresso . If you're undecided about how to pluralize a noun ending in -o , we suggest you consult our dictionary .

We understand that much of this article is a refresher and that you probably "automatically" know when to use the -s and -es plural suffixes, but we hope that we have enlightened you on some of the rules (and the exceptions) of pluralization. Guidelines were set many years ago by grammarians—some have survived intact, some have been tweaked, and some (ahem, the nouns ending in -o ) have been broken so many times that they seem nonexistent.


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Singular and Plural English Verbs Chart

People Washing Dishes with Singular and Plural Verb examples

Finding the plural versions of singular regular verbs isn't too complicated — if you know how to make them plural. It gets a little trickier when you add irregular verbs into the mix. Take a look at an explanation of singular and plural verbs, as well as a singular and plural verbs list that focuses on common regular and irregular verbs.

Singular vs. Plural Verbs

According to the rules of subject-verb agreement , the verb in a sentence must match the subject. In other words, if one person is performing an action, the verb is singular. If more than one person or object are performing an action, the verb is plural. The rules for making singular verbs plural are:

Use singular verbs for third-person nouns and pronouns (he, she, it), as well as collective nouns such as "team" or "family." When you use the pronouns I and you , use the base form of the verb (I bake , you bake ), just like you do for plural verbs.

Printable Irregular Singular and Plural Verbs List

Looking for a printable chart of common irregular verbs? Included below is a list for reference or to post in a classroom.

Singular and Plural English Verbs Chart

Singular Verbs That Add -s

Most regular verbs can be made singular by adding -s only. Some of these verbs include:

Singular Verbs That Add -es

Some verbs add -es when changed to a singular form from the base form. These verbs typically end in -ch, -o , -s, -sh, -x, or - z . They include:

Singular Verbs That Change From -y to -ies

Verbs that end in a consonant and -y change to -ies in singular form. For example:

Singular Verbs That Don't Change from -y

There is a small group of verbs that end in -y but don't change to -ies . That's because they end in a vowel and -y , not a consonant and -y . In these cases, you only add an -s . For example:

Irregular Verbs Change Form

These rules work well for regular verbs, but what about irregular verbs ? Irregular verbs are verbs that change form in the past tense , such as "catch" (caught) and "swim" (swam). Most of these verbs do follow the above rules, but there are a few that also change form in the singular present tense. These verbs include:

There are only a few verbs that fall into this category, but they're very important. The verbs "to be" and "to have" are fundamental to the other verb tenses in English.

Singular and Plural Verbs in Other Tenses

Deciding whether a verb is plural or singular mostly happens when you're writing in the present tense. Regular past tense verbs (and most irregular past tense verbs) are the same for both singular and plural subjects. For example:

When you're writing in the progressive or perfect tenses, the main verb doesn't change with singular or plural subjects — but the linking verb does. For example, in the progressive tenses, the verb "to be" changes with the subject:

In the present perfect tense and the present perfect progressive tense, the verb "to have" must match the singular or plural subject:

Sentences in the past perfect tense and the past perfect progressive tense use "had" along with the main verb, no matter whether the subject is singular or plural.

Embrace Singular and Plural Verb Forms

Using the correct verb form for subject-verb agreement makes your writing easier to understand. The more you review these verb forms, the more you'll spot them in everyday language and be better prepared you'll be to use them effectively. If at any point, you start to get turned around, you can always review these rules for conjugating verbs .

Spelling Plurals With -s or -es


If a word ends in – s , – sh , – ch , – x , or – z , you add – es . For almost all other nouns, add – s to pluralize.

Here’s a tip: Want to make sure your writing shines? Grammarly can check your spelling and save you from grammar and punctuation mistakes. It even proofreads your text, so your work is extra polished wherever you write.

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How to spell plural nouns: With – es or – s ?

When do you add – s and when do you add – es to make a plural noun ? It’s not quite as arbitrary as it may seem.

If a word ends in – s , – sh , – ch , – x , or – z , you add – es . 

Examples of plural nouns ending in – es

I had to take only one bus ; you had to take two buses .

I had to do only one wash ; you had to do two washes .

I have a splotch on my shirt; you have two splotches .

I’m carrying one box ; you’re carrying two boxes .

I heard one buzz ; you heard two buzzes .

Some single nouns ending in – s or – z require more than the – es to form their plural versions. To pluralize these nouns , you must double the – s or – z before adding the – es . 

Examples of single nouns ending in – s or – z

Do you smell the gasses coming from the chemistry lab?

How many fezzes can the boy possibly have?

All other regular nouns can be pluralized by simply adding an – s . These are just a few examples:

I have one cat ; you have two cats .

I have one cup ; you have two cups .

I have one shoe ; you have two shoes .

I have one ski ; you have two skis .

I have one toque ; you have two toques .

Adding – s or – es to a noun to make it plural is the most common form of pluralization, but there are many other plural noun rules that apply to words with certain endings.

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  1. Verbs / spelling: When do we add ‘s’ and ‘es’ to verbs in the

    Present simple third-person verbs ending in -es: When we use he / she / it, we need to add 'es' when the basic verb form ends in -ch or -sh or -ss: I wash ⇒ he, she, it washes: He washes his car a lot. I finish ⇒ he, she, it finishes: She finishes work at 5 o'clock. I watch ⇒ he, she, it watches: She watches television every evening.

  2. Verbs with “s”, “es” and “ies” in Present Simple tense Third

    There are three ways to make the “ S form”: – by adding “s” to the end of a verb (run >runs, sit >sits,see >sees, play > plays) – by adding “es” to the end of the verb that has a sibilant sound – ss, ch, x, tch, sh, zz (watch > watches, guess > guesses, mix > mixes) – by changing final “y” to “ies” after a consonant ...

  3. How to Pluralize With '-S' and '-ES'

    The most basic rule is to pluralize a noun by adding the suffix -s (as in voters ); however, if the noun ends in -s, -x, -z, -sh, or -ch (with the exception—see, we already have an exception—of words ending in -ch pronounced with a hard k, like monarchs and stomachs ), the suffix -es is added in order to create an extra syllable to pronounce the …

  4. Singular and Plural English Verbs Chart

    The rules for making singular verbs plural are: Singular verbs -add -s or -es (he bakes, she walks, Michele washes) Plural verbs - don't add -s or -es (they bake, we walk, the Hamiltons wash) Use singular verbs for third-person nouns and pronouns (he, she, it), as well as collective nouns such as "team" or "family."

  5. Spelling Plurals With -s or -es

    If a word ends in –s, –sh, –ch, –x, or –z, you add –es. Examples of plural nouns ending in –es I had to take only one bus; you had to take two buses. I had to do only one wash; you had to do two washes. I have a splotch on my shirt; you have two splotches. I’m carrying one box; you’re carrying two boxes. I heard one buzz; you heard two buzzes.