What are the Plural Forms of Roof and Hoof?

Plurals can be tricky in any language, including English. Two words that often raise questions about their respective plurals are roof and hoof. Many people wonder whether these words follow typical pluralization rules or opt for the less conventional ones.

Ruling the Roof

The word *roof* has been the subject of much debate when it comes to its plural form. It can, at times, seem as though the language is trying to throw us off the correct spelling track. Both “roofs” and “rooves” have been used historically.

However, the norm in modern English is to use roofs as the plural of *roof*. Despite that, ‘rooves’ still surfaces in some texts, particularly older ones or those adhering to archaic language use. Yet, in today’s English, whether American, British, or otherwise, ‘roofs’ is the accepted plural form.

While ‘roof’ inherently follows the typical English pluralization pattern whereby an ‘f’ changes to ‘ves’ to form plurals, remember that ‘roof’ is an exception to this rule, and so are some words that simply add an ‘s’ to form the plural, like chief and cliff. It’s always a good idea to double-check such words as they can prove to be exceptions to rules you may think you’ve got down pat!

Books and apple

A Hoof, Hoofs or Hooves?

When it comes to hoof, the plurality situation gets slightly more intricate. English has a way of keeping us on our toes, or should I say hooves!

Both “hoofs” and “hooves” are appropriate plural forms for *hoof*. Interestingly, “hoofs” was the dominant plural form for a long time until about the mid-20th century when “hooves” galloped ahead in usage. Since then, ‘hooves’ has established itself as the more commonly used plural form, outpacing ‘hoofs’ almost three-fold.

Similar to ‘roof’, ‘hoof’ comes under the list of words that could potentially follow an irregular pluralization pattern – a feature found in many, arguably confusing, English words.


Understanding the plural forms of roof and hoof can be less of a challenge when you know the preferred modern usage. Remember, “roofs” and “hooves” are your go-to plurals for these words. And even though “rooves” and “hoofs” may appear from time to time, they are generally regarded as less common, and some might even say outdated.

As you immerse yourself in the English language, you’ll uncover more such exceptions and surprising rules that keep English unique, given its history and evolution. And remember, when in doubt, there’s no shame in looking it up! Happy writing everyone!

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