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Pluralization Services


Sometimes it is useful to allow a user to define their own entities or rename existing entities within an application. For example, in a contact management system, one could envisage the user wanting to tailor the software to change, say, ‘customer’ to ‘client’, or ‘lead’ to ‘prospect’, as well as defining new entities, such as contact methods, e.g. ‘network meeting’, ‘mailshot’, etc.

One issue when giving end users freedom like this is how to pluralise the words, e.g. “You have 3 new lead”. One way is to just add an ‘s’ in brackets, such as “you have 3 new lead(s)”, but this falls down with some words, such as ‘entity’, ‘person’, ‘child’, etc. where the plurals don’t follow the simple “add an ‘s'” rule.

Luckily, but for English only, .Net includes a pluralisation service which was required for the development of Entity Framework, and we can access it.

The screenshot below shows a very simple demonstration application (which can be downloaded here).



The code extract below is the key to using the service, and it is very simple.

private void buttonPluralize_Click(object sender, EventArgs e)
  if (!String.IsNullOrWhiteSpace(textBoxSingular.Text)) {
    textBoxPlural.Text = PluralizationService.CreateService(CultureInfo.GetCultureInfo("en-us")).Pluralize(textBoxSingular.Text);
  } else {
    textBoxPlural.Text = String.Empty;


Unfortunately, the only cultures supported at the minute are English based. If you attempt to use anything else you will be met with the lovely message “We don’t support locales other than english yet”.

To utilise the PluralizationService you need to reference the following two DLLs.


On my machine, these can both be found in the following folder:
C:\Program Files (x86)\Reference Assemblies\Microsoft\Framework\.NETFramework\v4.0\

The second DLL, ‘System.Data.Entity.Design.dll’, is not in the .Net 4 Client framework, but rather the full framework.

You will also require the following ‘using’ statements.

using System.Data.Entity.Design.PluralizationServices;
using System.Globalization;


So, play around and have fun. It would be great to hear what people are doing with the service, so please let me know if you have time.



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