'Sheeps' or 'Sheep': What is the Plural of 'Sheep'?

By Shanea Patterson, updated on October 21, 2022

Wondering what the plural of the word ‘sheep’ is? This article will dive into that and teach you how to use the word in both forms in a sentence.

The plural form of ‘sheep’ is ‘sheep.’ ‘Sheeps’ is incorrect.

What is the Plural Form of ‘Sheep’ 

As mentioned in the previous section, the plural form of the word ‘sheep’ requires that the word remain unchanged.

Why is the Plural Form of ‘Sheep’ ‘Sheep’

The word ‘sheep’ doesn’t follow the standard rules of pluralization for nouns in the English language. Let’s look at what those are exactly. 

Standard Pluralization Rules

 The standard rules for making words plural in English is to add ‘s’ or ‘es.’

For example:

  • Car > Cars
  • Flower > Flowers
  • Tax > Taxes
  • Lunch > Lunches

If the word ends in ‘f,’ or ‘fe,’ those letters are changed to ‘v,’ and then an ‘s’ is added at the end.

For example:

  • Wolf > Wolves
  • Wife > Wives
  • Calf > Calves

Other words (such as words borrowed from Latin and Greek) use the same pluralization rules from ancient times. Words belonging to this category include words like:

  • Syllabus > Syllabi
  • Cactus > Cacti
  • Fungus > Fungi

Some words change by adding an ‘ae,’ ‘ices,’ or ‘a.’ For example:

  • Vertebra > Vertebrae
  • Larva > Larvae
  • Appendix > Appendices
  • Index > Indices
  • Bacterium > Bacteria

But some words, don’t change when forming the plural version of the word.

  • Aircraft
  • Species
  • Moose
  • Deer
  • Elk
  • Salmon
  • Buffalo
  • Fish
  • Walrus
  • Antelope

Using the Singular and Plural Forms in a Sentence

Now you know that the word ‘sheep’ doesn’t follow standard pluralization rules. You know that the plural of ‘sheep’ is ‘sheep.’ No need to add an ‘s.’

Let’s use both the singular and plural forms in a sentence.

Examples of the singular form in a sentence:

  • That sheep looks like he needs a shave.
  • Look at that sheep; its fur is so soft and white.

Examples of the plural form in a sentence:

  • The sheep haven’t eaten this morning yet.
  • We have to herd the sheep before the rain comes.

Using the Possessive Form of ‘Sheep’

The possessive form of the word can be a bit tricky compared to its plural version remaining the same as the singular form of the word.

The singular possessive form is ‘sheep’s.’

The plural possessive form is ‘sheep’s.’

Here’s how you’d use both in a sentence.

Singular Possessive

  • That sheep’s fur needs a bit of a trim.
  • The sheep’s leg appears to be injured.
  • The sheep's tongue looks strange; he may be sick.

Plural Possessive

  • The sheep’s pen needs to be cleaned promptly.
  • The sheep’s livelihood depends on being able to roam free in the field.
  • The sheep's barn isn't big enough anymore.

There are no instances where ‘sheeps’’ is correct in the singular or plural possessive forms of the word.

Final Thoughts on Using the ‘Sheep’ in Both Forms

‘Sheep’ is one word that falls into the category of words that don’t follow traditional pluralization rules. Instead, the word remains the same, similarly to other words with confusing pluralization rules (such as mouse or wife).

Find yourself getting stumped on confusing words often? Browse our library of confusing English words and commonly misspelled words.

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Written By:
Shanea Patterson
Shanea Patterson is a writer based in New York and loves writing for brands big and small. She has a master's degree in professional writing from New York University and a bachelor's degree in English from Mercy College.

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