'Leafs' or 'Leaves': What is the Plural of 'Leaf'?

By Carly Forsaith, updated on October 18, 2022

Are you wondering what the plural of 'leaf' is - 'leafs' or 'leaves'? Then you're in the right place. This article will give you the correct answer, and you'll learn more about forming plurals in English.

In short, the correct spelling for the plural form of 'leaf' is 'leaves.' 'Leafs' is incorrect.

What Does 'Leaf' Mean, and Is it 'Leafs' or 'Leaves'?

What does the word 'leaf' even mean? And why is there confusion around what its plural form is? Let's get into it.

Definition of 'Leaf'

The word 'leaf' can be either a noun or a verb. Let's have a look at both meanings.

'Leaf' as a Noun

The noun 'leaf' is an outgrowth attached to a branch or stem. You'll find them in trees, bushes, flowers, and other plants.

Here are some examples of the noun 'leaf' used in a sentence:

I stood there watching this single leaf float up and down in the wind.

I found the most beautiful leaf on the ground underneath a giant oak tree.

Perhaps the following popular idiom makes a little more sense once you know the meaning of the word 'leaf':

She was shaking like a leaf.

The noun 'leaf' also sometimes refers to a page or piece of paper. For example:

He added a dedication to his son on the first leaf of his book.

There are also common idioms that use the word in this sense. Here's one:

I don't know how John stays so relaxed. I need to take a leaf out of his book.

This idiom expresses your intention to take an example from someone else doing well in an area you want to improve.

Here's another:

I've turned a new leaf.

This means you've started a new chapter in your life.

'Leaf' as a Verb

To leaf through a book is to turn the pages or flick through any paperwork. For example:

I leafed through it quickly, but I need to peruse the document more thoroughly.

I was leafing through the book when I found a bookmark on page 131.

It also means "to produce leaves."

The trees will start to leaf out in Spring.

The Plural of 'Leaf' - Is it 'Leafs' or 'Leaves'?

So what is the plural form of 'leaf?' Of course, when we talk about plurals, we are talking about how they apply to nouns. So you can disregard the verb form of 'leaf' for this article.

The correct pluralization of 'leaf' is 'leaves.'

Standard Rules for Forming the Plurals

There are standard rules to follow when forming plurals in the English language. Those rules are laid out for you here.

But to summarize, when a word ends in "f" or "fe," it is typical to change the "f" to a "v" when forming the plural. That is why the word 'leaf' becomes 'leaves.' Let's see some examples of other "f" words where the same rule applies:

  • Wife → wives
  • Calf → calves
  • Knife → knives

So where is there so much confusion around the plural of 'leaf' if it's a straightforward rule?

The reason is that it isn't so straightforward. As you might have guessed, there are some exceptions. For example:

  • Safe → safes
  • Chief → chiefs
  • Reef → reefs

There is, however, actually a logical explanation for this. Generally, nouns ending by IEF, OOF, EEF, FF, or RF take S only.

Since 'leaf' doesn't fall under that category, it's changed to 'leaves' in the plural.

Examples of 'Leaves' in a Sentence

Let's see examples of the plural form 'leaves' in a sentence.

All the leaves are brown, and the sky is grey.

In Fall, the parks are covered in fallen leaves.

Each morning I have to clear my porch of leaves.

Spelling Variations for 'Leafs' or 'Leaves'

There are some variations of the word 'leaf' that you might have seen online or in printed material. I wanted to ensure I covered those today, so you're not left wondering what they mean.


'Leave' is a verb that means to depart. Let's have a look at some examples of what this looks like in a sentence:

I think it's time for me to leave now.

I'll leave the party around 10 pm.

When would you like to leave?


If you see 'leaf' spelled with an apostrophe and "s," you're looking at the possessive form of the word 'leaf.'

The leaf's color vas a vibrant green.
Where's the leaf's stem?
Let's take a look at the leaf's anatomy.

Leafs Through a Book

We learned earlier about the verb "to leave," as into leaf through a book. In the third person singular, you'll see the form 'leafs.' Here are some examples:

He carefully leafs through the manuscript so as not to damage the pages.

Have you seen how she leafs through the material before any meeting?

Leaves' Plural Possessive

As we saw earlier, 'leaves' is the plural form of the noun 'leaf.' But add an apostrophe, and you'll get the possessive form of the plural 'leaves.' For example:

The leaves' colors were vibrant.

We're painting the leaves' stems.

Final Words on 'Leafs' or 'Leaves'

Hopefully, this article has helped clarify the matter, and you now feel more confident about which form to use for the plural. To summarize:

  • 'Leaf' is the singular form
  • 'Leaves' is the plural form
  • Other variants exist but apply to different contexts and/or carry different meanings.

Don't worry if you find pluralization confusing; all you need is a little practice and to review the rules regularly.

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Written By:
Carly Forsaith
Carly Forsaith is one of the lead freelance writers for WritingTips.org. Carly is a copywriter who has been writing about the English language for over 3 years. Before that, she was a teacher in Thailand, helping people learn English as a second language. She is a total grammar nerd and spends her time spotting language errors on signs and on the internet.

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