What's the word?
1) By purely reading the word, how could I tell it has plural or not?
2) By purely reading the word, how could I tell it should add 'er' and 'est'
behind, or put 'more' and 'the most' in front?
What's the word?
I'll leave this to the 'masters'
1. One cannot state if a noun is singular or plural without placing it in a context.
e.g. The sheep is grazing in the field [singular]
The sheep are grazing in the field. [plural]
The noun "sheep"- among many others- is considered to have a "zero plural" from this point of view.
"Plurals are formed by adding -s, except the following cases:
When a word ends in -ch, -s, -sh, -ss or -x the plural is formed by adding -es
eg.: benches, gases, dishes, crosses, taxes
When a word ends in -y preceded by a consonant the plural form is -ies
eg.: parties, bodies, policies
When a word ends in -y preceded by a vowel the plural is formed by adding -s
eg.: trays, joys, keys
When a word ends in -o the more common plural ending is -oes
eg.: tomatoes, potatoes, zeroes, heroes
In less familiar words or when the final -o preceded by a vowel the plural ending is -os
eg.: avocados, armadillos, studios, cameos
When a word ends in -f the plural is formed either by adding -s
eg.: beliefs, cuffs, whiffs
or by changing the -f to -v and adding -es, eg.: wives, thieves, loves.
Some words may take both forms, eg.: scarf, wharf
In the cases where both endings can be used, the -ves ending is usually the more formal one. The -s ending is more "casual" and is a bit more of a "slang" form.
When a word ends in -ex or -ix the more formal plural ending is -ices. In more general contexts -es is used
eg.: appendices, appendixes, indices, indexes
When a word form Latin ends in -is the plural form is -es
eg.: egcrises, analyses
When a word form Latin ends in -us the plural form is -i
eg.: succubi, nuclei, syllabi, radii
With compound words (like court-martial) it is usually the most important part which is pluralized
eg.: courts-martial, lord-justices, mothers-in-law
In certain cases the plural form of a word is the same as the singular
eg.: deer, sheep, grouse and in some words both forms end in -s
eg.: measles, corps, mews
There are two main types of plural which take either singular of plural verbs:
words like media and data. These are in common use as singular nouns although, strictly, this is incorrect
words ending in -ics. Generally, these are treated as plural when the word relates to an individual person or thing
eg.: his mathematics are poor, the hall's acoustics are good
and as singular when it is regarded more strictly as a science
eg.: mathematics is an important subject."
PLURALS OF ENGLISH NOUNS
Plural - English Grammar
Spelling: Noun Plurals
This is a very large topic and it takes too much time to discuss it on the forum
2. English adjectives made up of one syllable add -er [comparative] and -est [superlative].
hot - hottest - the hottest
thin- thinner - the thinnest
busy - busier - the busiest
There are some exceptions as well :
clever [two syllables] - cleverer - the cleverest
narrow - narrower - the narrowest
The morphemes "more" and " most" are added to the adjectives made up of two or more syllables:
difficult- more difficult - the most difficult
beautiful -more beautiful - the most beautiful
This is also a very large topic which requires a deeper study.
Excellent reply teia.
Thank you very much. I am aware of the fact that my examples cannot be of too much help [especially for a beginner] because such large topics as English noun and adjective should be discussed step by step due to the complexity they involve: spelling, pronounciation,form, etc.
Ye I agree it is a vast area and needs to be taken step by step.
I do enjoy your contributions though, as they are as comprehensive as any I have seen on here.