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Is Sheep Singular or Plural?

Make no moose-take, the only correct plural of sheep is sheep, sans -s .

Last updated on February 14th, 2024 at 02:34 pm



What’s the plural of “sheep”?
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If you’ve been keeping up with your regularly scheduled grammarflexing, you’d definitely know by now that if you’re saying sheeps, it’s because you’re using it the third-person present singular (and not as the plural of sheep). The consensus on the plural of sheep is as follows:

  • The plural of sheep is sheep.

  • Sheeps is incorrect, and is commonly mistaken as the plural of sheep.


NounSentence examples
singularsheepcorrect: The disobedient sheep would not follow the shepherd.

incorrect: A flock of sheep are grazing the fields.
pluralsheepcorrect: These leaves are toxic to cattle and sheep.

incorrect: My grandfather used to raise sheeps in Australia.



This makes sheep an irregular noun; regular nouns add “s” or “es” to switch to plural; e.g., cats, tables, dresses.



Nouns that stay the same singular & plural

Some nouns stay the same singular and plural, like sheep.

Some nouns show no change between their singular and plural noun forms, like sheep, deer and moose (to name a few). With nouns that are identical singular and plural, we determine the subject’s count from other grammatical aspects in the same sentence.

“Sheep” in sentence examples as a plural

Black sheep are much rarer than white sheep.

A a flock of sheep are in the field behind the house.

Expect to spot sheep, elk, deer, moose, coyote and many winter birds during your ski.

We ate yoghurt made from sheep’s milk.

My father works on a sheep farm.



Other examples of sentences with “sheep”

The majority of the species of Acacia are edible and serve as reserve fodder for sheep and cattle.

The failure of the crops was almost universal and large numbers of sheep and cattle perished for want of food.

It wasn’t necessary to count sheep.

Pigs, sheep and goats are also kept in considerable numbers.

Enormous flocks of sheep are kept in the deserts around Bukhara.



Phrases with “sheep”

PhraseMeaning
A wolf in sheep’s clothing said of something that appears harmless but is in fact dangerous or bad
Black sheep of the family one that’s different from the other family members, or feels like the odd one out
To make sheep’s eyes to give someone a doting look
It’s a foolish sheep that makes the wolf his confessor make sure you trust those you confide in
Hanged for a sheep as a lamb meaning the punishment will be the same regardless of the crime
If one sheep leaps over the ditch, all the rest will followif one person takes a dangerous risk others will follow



Names for male, female, and baby sheep

Female sheep and goats are ewes (/juː/), an intact male is a ram, and sometimes a tup. Castrated male sheep are wethers, and young sheep are lambs.

What do you call a group of sheep?

The common term to refer to a group of sheep is flock. Less common is a “herd of sheep“. Typically, shepherds (sheepherders) herds the flock of sheep back into their pens. This is the difference between a flock of sheep, and a herd of sheep (it’s a subtle difference, to be sure).



Read more on plural nouns



Sources

  1. The Elk House
  2. The difference between a flock of sheep and a herd of sheep?
  3. Plural of animals quiz
  4. “it’s a foolish sheep that makes the wolf his confessor.” Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. 2015. Farlex, Inc 18 Dec. 2023

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