Global communications in English
Quick tips

Is it photo’s or photos?

photo collageWatch out! In English, unlike Dutch, almost all nouns that end in the vowels ai, o or u form their plural by simply adding an -s. Don’t be tempted to put in an apostrophe. For example:

agenda
area                 
camera
kiwi
taxi
Iraqi
radio                
photo
menu
agendas
areas
cameras
kiwis
taxis
Iraqis
radios
photos
menus

The only exceptions are i’s (as in dotting the i’s) and do’s (as in the do’s and don’ts). Here the apostrophe helps to prevent confusion (particularly with is).

Some nouns that end in a consonant + o, however, add -es. For example, potatoes, tomatoes, volcanoes, cargoes.

© 2014 Baxter Publishing, Hilversum, The Netherlands

2 Comments

  1. grahamlestergeorge@mac.com

    The apostrophe in “photo’s” has nothing to do with pluralising. The apostrophe is there to replace the missing letters of “photographs”. Just as my mother would write on her shopping list: Punnet of strawb’s; 2lb pot’s; 1lb of tom’s; collect photo’s from chemist’s shop. Strawberries – Strawb’s; Potatoes – Pot’s; Tomatoes – Tom’s; Photo’s – Photographs.

    • Strawb’s, pot’s and tom’s are all examples of BAD English usage. That slovenly use of the language should not be used as an excuse to add an apostrophe to an obviously plural word.
      If I wrote … the pot’s lid, it would mean the lid of a pot; nothing to do with potatoes.
      The apostrophe is used to indicate the possessive. e.g “the photo’s colour saturation”, which is not a plural

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