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ESL Grammar Resources

Plurals and Nationalities           


For reference, see Nationalities.

Plurals and Nationalities

Why do we say Italians, but we say Vietnamese, not Vietnameses

  The Russians are here. *   The Chinese are here. *  
  The Koreans are here.   The Japanese are here.  
  The Americans are here.   The British are here.  
  The Italians are here.   The Swiss are here.  
  The New Zealanders are here.   The French are here.  
  The Pakistanis are here.   The Portuguese are here.  


It's mostly phonetic. That is, it depends on the final sound of the word.

  Words ending in:   Words ending in:  
  -an, -ian, -er, -i   -ese, -ish, -iss, -ch  
  require and "s" in the plural   do not change  

Languages (no article)
  Russian is easy.   Chinese is easy.  
Korean is easy.   Japanese is easy.  
Italian is easy.   French is easy.  

  Russians are friendly.   The Chinese are friendly  
  Koreans are friendly.   The Chinese people are friendly  
  New Zealanders are friendly.   The Japanese are friendly  
      Japanese people are friendly.  
      The French are friendly.  
      Frenchmen are friendly.  

*If you are talking about a specific group (of Russians, etc.), the article the must be used.

    Most of the Italians (in this class) are female.

    Most of the Japanese (in the restaurant) are from Kyoto.

**If you are talking generally, no article or preposition is needed.

With s: Most Americans speak English. Not: Most of Americans

No s: Most Vietnamese live in Asia. Not: Most of Vietnamese

See also:
Grammar: Most/Almost 


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