Singular and Plural Tips in OET
In English, to change a singular into a plural is not a difficult thing. But, in medical English, you need to know some basic rules.
Generally, in English, a plural is formed by adding “S” to the ending of the word.
- Nurse - Nurses
- Doctor - Doctors
- Patient - Patients
- Drug - Drugs
- Medicine - Medicines
However, there are some exceptions to this common rule.
Medical words (Greek and Latin Origin)
Words that end in -ch, -sm -sh, -o (some nouns) are made plural by adding -es.
Remember, medical terms are derived from either Latin or Greek. These words or terms do not follow the same rules (as we have to covert a singular into a plural).
Consider a few examples
These are the words that end on “a” and they can be converted into a plural by adding “e.”
- Scapula - Scapulae
- Vertebra - Vertebrae
- Petechia - Petechiae
- Conjunctiva - Conjunctivae
- Pleura - Pleurae
- Axilla - Axillae
If the word ends in “ax” then the plural can be formed by adding “ces”. And you will have to eliminate “x” as well.
- Pneumothorax - Pneumothoraces
- Thorax - Thoraces
Words that end in “us” can be converted into their plural forms by adding “i” at the end. And remember, you will have to drop “us”
- Alveolus - Alveoli
- Bronchus - Bronchi
- Calculus - Calculi
- Thrombus - Thrombi
- Embolus - Emboli
- Bacillus - Bacilli
Words that end “ix” can be converted into plurals by adding “ces.” But, you will have to remove “x”
- Appendix - Appendices
- Cervix - Cervices
Words that end in “ma” should be changed into a plural by adding “ta”. But, remember, you do not have to remove “ma”
Check out these examples
- Fibroma - Fibromata
- Sarcoma - Sarcomata
Words that end in “on” will take “a” at the end. And you will have to drop “on.”
- Spermatozoon - Spermatozoa
- Ganglion - Ganglia
But the words that end in “ex” can be converted into plurals by removing the “ex” and adding “ices” at the end.
- Apex - Apices
- Cortex - Cortices
- Vortex - Vortices
Words that end on “is” can be converted into a plural by dropping “is” and adding “es.” such as
- Anastomosis - Anastomoses
- Diagnosis - Diagnoses
- Metastasis - Metastases
- Prosthesis - Prostheses
Words that end in “um” will take “a” at the end. You will have to drop “um”
- Atrium - Atria
- Diverticulum - Diverticula
- Bacterium - Bacteria
- Ovum - Ova
Words that end in “y” can be changed into plural form by adding “ies” at the end. You will have to drop the “y.”
- Biopsy - Biopsies
- Therapy - Therapies
Words that end with “x” will take “ges” at the end. You will have to drop “x”
- Meninx - Meninges
- Larynx - Larynges
Remember, you will have to make use of the correct plural forms when you are taking your OET writing sub-test. Of course, in your OET listening sub-test, an error in writing a plural or a singular form may not create a problem for you. Your answer will be marked right even if the answer is spelled wrongly. But, in writing sub-test, spelling errors will bring a trouble for you. Your score will get affected.
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