One, Two, Three! Singular, Dual, and Plural in Inuktitut


by Maren Vsetula


The concept of singular, dual, and plural can be difficult for students to understand. When you’re helping a new Inuktitut reader, you will probably come across this tricky concept.

When we want to talk about more than one of something in English, we usually add an “s” to the end.


singular          one snowmobile

plural              two snowmobiles, three snowmobiles


In Inuktitut, we use different endings to differentiate between two of something (dual) and more than two of something (plural).


singular                      nanuq                         one polar bear

dual                            nanuuk                       two polar bears

plural                          nanuit                         three polar bears


Here are some easy-to-follow guidelines to help with duals and plurals:


When there are two of something, the rule is:

If the object ends in a vowel, double the last vowel and add a “k.”


tuktu                                       one caribou

tuktuuk                                  two caribou


If the object ends in a “t,” add the ending “–iik.” If it ends in any other consonant, delete the last consonant, double the vowel, and add a “k.”


iqaluk             one fish

iqaluuk           two fish



When speaking about more than two of anything, here are the rules to follow. Remember the plural form always ends in “t.”

If the object ends in a vowel, add “–it.”


tuktu               one caribou

tuktuit           three or more caribou


If the object ends in “t,” add “–iit.”


uqaalaut                     one telephone

uqaalautiit                 three or more telephones


If the object ends in any other consonant, delete the last consonant and add “–it.”


uqaliq             one Arctic hare

uqaliit            three or more Arctic hare


If you want more information, take a look at Inuktitut Essentials: A Phrasebook, published by Pirurvik Press.





You can buy a copy of Duals here.





You can buy a copy of Plurals here.


Maren Vsetula is an educational writer with Inhabit Education in Iqaluit, Nunavut.  She has lived in Nunavut since 2004 and worked as a teacher during that time. She loves being on the land, cooking and eating yummy food and being active.