Teaching Students About the Plural of Pleura


The English language is filled with exceptions, rules, and irregularities that can make learning it a challenging task for students. One of these peculiar words is “pleura,” which refers to the thin membrane that covers the lungs and chest cavity. It might surprise some students to learn that the plural of pleura is not “pleuras,” but rather “pleurae.” This article aims to provide a guide for teachers on how best to introduce and teach this unique plural form to students.

Merging Anatomy with Language

One effective way to teach the plural of pleura is by introducing it during an anatomy lesson. As students learn about the respiratory system and come across the term pleura, be ready to explain its plural form. To provide a vivid understanding, use diagrams and illustrations highlighting both pleurae in the human body. This approach connects language and anatomy education for easier retention.

Practice with Activities

Having engaging activities prepared will solidify the concept in students’ minds. Here are three example activities:

1. Word Scramble: Provide students with scrambled words related to anatomy and respiratory system vocabulary – including “pleurae.” After unscrambling each term, ask them to write down the word’s definition and its plural form (when applicable).

2. Fill-in-the-Blank: Create sentences missing a word or two, either in singular or plural form, as appropriate. Encourage students to fill in using correct plurals related to anatomy terms learned previously.

3. Group Work: Divide students into groups where they draw figures representing different body systems like the respiratory system, digestive system, etc., labeling every organ or component in both singular and plural forms where applicable.

Examples from Other Words

As you teach pleurae, compare it with plurals formed the same way such as larva (larvae), vertebra (vertebrae) and antenna (antennae), etc. This comparison offers students other examples to reinforce their understanding.

Introduce related Concepts

Just as pleura surprises many with its plural form, so do other anatomical terms. When teaching pleurae, seize the opportunity to teach other uncommon plurals like “alveolus” (plural: alveoli) and “bronchus” (plural: bronchi). It’s essential to prepare students for a broader range of exceptional plurals in anatomy.

Provide Context

Now that your students understand how to form the plural of pleura, challenge them to create sentences using the word – encouraging practice in context. Encourage them to use both the singular and plural variants and present their sentences to the class for discussion and feedback.


Teaching students about the plural of pleura can be challenging, but with plenty of practice and contextual understanding, they’ll master this concept in no time. By connecting language education with anatomy lessons, organizing interactive activities, and providing context through examples, educators can efficiently help their students grasp these unique plurals forms.

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