'Wifes' or 'Wives': What is the Plural of 'Wife'?

By Jane Rose, updated on October 19, 2022

Have you been debating whether to use the plural "wifes" or "wives"? This is a very reasonable question; you certainly wouldn't be the first to ask which of these two is the correct grammatical use and why. Keep reading to find out! 

The short answer is:

  • The plural form of the word 'wife' is 'wives.' 'Wifes' is incorrect.

Why Is The Plural of 'Wife' 'Wives' Instead of 'Wifes'

You already know that 'wives' is the correct plural for the word 'wife,' but maybe you'd want to know why. The main reason is as follows:

The English language has certain peculiar rules, particularly regarding plural nouns. When most single nouns are pluralized, an "s" is added to the end. Nouns ending in "y" with a consonant, on the other hand, obtain an "ies" ending. 

In terms of the singular form 'wife,' there are no rules. All you have to remember is that certain nouns that finish in "f" or "fe" are altered to "ves." 

However, this does not apply to all terms, such as wife. For example, the term dwarf in single turn becomes dwarfs in plural form.

How To Use 'Wives 'Correctly

We use 'wives' to make the word "wife" plural. For instance:

  • The charcoal seller and his wife watched this small argument without interjecting.
  • Both of their wives were excited about the trip.

However, when the apostrophe is added to either the word 'wife' or 'wives,' the meaning changes immediately. For Instance:

The Term "Wife's"

The single possessive form of 'wife' is 'wife's.' When we wish to demonstrate that one woman owns something, we use the possessive form of 'wife.'

  • This is my wife's residence.
  • I need to take care of my wife's plant.

Remember, we're just talking about one 'wife'. If it's simpler to grasp, you may substitute a wife's with a name. For example:

  • This is Ann's residence.
  • We must take care of Ann's plant.

The Term  Wives'

Wives' is the possessive plural form of 'wives.' When the noun ends in "s," and we wish to make the word possessive, the apostrophe must be placed after the "s."

  • This is our wives' business.

In this situation, several (more than one) of our' wives' own the company and run it collectively.

Because wife's and wives' sound so similar in spoken English, it might be difficult to tell whether you're talking about one wife or numerous wives in the possessive.

Is Wifes a Real Word?

Now that we've established that the right word to use is 'wives,' you would probably be wondering whether the term 'wifes' still exists. Without an apostrophe, the term "wifes" is no longer possessive. 

It is, nevertheless, a legal Scrabble word. If you wish to use the plural version of 'wife,' it's wives. It's a little perplexing that the term "wifes'' exists, but it's not the correct spelling for having more than one wife in English. This is due to the peculiar rules/non-rules of English.

What Are The Synonyms For Wife

Looking up other terms with comparable meanings might also help you understand a word better. A dictionary will come in help with confusing words here.

While the word 'wife' is the most formal term for a married woman, there are various alternative, more ambiguous terms:

  • Spouse: "a husband or 'wife' as it relates to their relationship."
  • Mate: "A companion member or shared occupier of a certain entity."
  • Partner: "Either a married pair or a well-established unmarried couple."

These terms have almost the same meaning as the word 'wife,' although they are not gender-specific. A man or female in a relationship might be referred to as a partner, spouse, or mate.

To Conclude, 'Wifes' or 'Wives' What is the Plural of 'Wife'? 

The term "wife" has been used in the English language for a long time. It has acquired many implications and may be used both favorably and negatively. Of course, a great marriage frequently entails complimenting your 'wife'!

At the end of the day, how you speak about one' wife' or numerous wives depends on context and circumstance. Hopefully, this article has assisted you in learning the basics of English grammar for the correct term for the plural of the word 'wife.' Thanks for reading!

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Written By:
Jane Rose
Jane is a freelance content writer, blogger, ghostwriter, and editor. She has an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Warren Wilson College in Asheville, North Carolina. She received her B.A. in English with a concentration in Expository Writing from Brown University in 2012.

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