'Gooses' or Geese': What is the Plural of 'Goose'?

By Amy Gilmore, updated on October 14, 2022

'Goose' is one of the rare words in the English language that does not follow standard plural rules.

The plural form of 'goose' is 'geese.' It is not 'gooses,' so it is considered an irregular plural. 

If you would like to learn why 'goose' does not follow standard plural rules, this guide should help. It gives the history on the word 'goose,' information about why it has an irregular plural form, and examples of other similar words. 

What are Standard Plural Rules? 

You get the plural form of most English words by adding an 's' to the end of the singular version of the word. For example: 

  • Cat - Cats
  • Dog - Dogs
  • Horse - Horses
  • Chicken - Chickens
  • Bird - Birds

There are a few exceptions, though. In most cases, if a word ends in 'y,' you add 'ies' to the end to make the singular form plural. For example: 

  • Berry - Berries
  • Fairy - Fairies 
  • Ferry - Ferries 

However, there are some cases when you add an 's' to words that end in 'y,' like: 

  • Toy - Toys
  • Attorney - Attorneys 

If a word already ends in 's,' you create the plural form of the term by adding 'es.' For example: 

  • Glass - Glasses
  • Boss - Bosses
  • Loss - Losses 

Other words have a different plural form of the word, like: 

  • Person - People
  • Child - Children 
  • Man - Men
  • 'Goose' - 'Geese'

Why Doesn't 'Goose' Follow Standard Plural Rules? 

Some believe that the plural form of goose is geese because other similar English words derived from the German and Old English words follow a similar pluralization rule where the 'ee' replaces 'oo' in the middle of the word. 

However, very few examples other than 'foot' and 'feet,' and just as many words with 'oo' do not follow the same rule. For example: 

  • Boot - Boots
  • Wood - Woods
  • Good - Goods

These other words likely have different origins, which is why the plural forms differ. 

What is the Difference: 'Goose' vs. 'Moose?'

Moose is similar in spelling and sound to 'goose.' However, the singular and plural form of 'moose' is 'moose.' Some words' plural and singular versions are the exact words, like deer and fish. Although 'goose' and 'moose' are alike, 'goose' is an older word and the two words originate from different parts of the world, which is likely why the plural forms are different.

Is 'Gooses' Ever Correct? 

Whether you write a formal business email or a recreational short story, 'mooses' is never acceptable or correct. Instead, you should always refer to two or more large birds as 'geese.'

What is the Plural Possessive Version of 'Goose?'

'Geese's' is the correct plural possessive form of 'goose.' If you wanted to use it in a sentence, you could say: 

  • The 'geese's' feathers fell out during their migration. 

The possessive singular form of 'goose' is 'goose's.' So, if you are referring to one goose, you may write a sentence like this: 

  • The 'goose's' journey was long and tiring. 

Terms or Phrases Using 'Goose' or 'Geese'

Some common 'goose' phrases people say can be a bit confusing. Look at the list below to see the correct 'goose' terminology.

  • 'Goose' Lease
  • 'Goose' Down Pillows
  • 'Goose' Feather Fill 

It might seem like you should use 'geese' in these phrases. 'Goose' is the correct word choice even though hunters go to a 'goose' lease to hunt multiple 'geese,' and 'goose' down pillows contain the feathers of more than one 'goose.' 

Using the singular version of a word to describe things is common, though. For example: 

  • Foot Bath
  • Hair Brush
  • Tooth Brush

'Goose' Is and 'Geese' Are

If you want to say that a 'goose' is doing something, you will use 'is' because you are only talking about one 'goose.' If you are using 'geese,' you say 'are' because there is more than one 'goose.'

Final Thoughts on Using 'Goose' and 'Geese'

Like journey, equipment, and other words with complex plural forms, remembering the plural form of 'goose' or when to use 'goose' or 'geese' can be a bit confusing. It is unlike any other word with a similar sound and spelling. So, even seasoned writers sometimes get hung up on the correct plural version of 'goose.'

However, all you have to do is remember the plural form of 'goose' is always 'geese.'

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Written By:
Amy Gilmore
Amy Gilmore is one of the lead freelance writers for WritingTips.org. She has been a professional writer and editor for the past eight years. She developed a love of language arts and literature in school and decided to become a professional freelance writer after a demanding career in real estate. Amy is constantly learning to become a better writer and loves sharing tips with other writers who want to do the same.

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