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The Plural of Grown-Up: Exploring the Correct Usage

plural of grown up

Grown-up is a compound noun made up of two words, “grown” and “up.” When forming the plural of a compound noun that is not made of nouns itself, we usually add an “s” to the end of the word. In this case, since neither “grown” nor “up” is a noun, the plural of “grown up” is “grown-ups.” This follows the same rule as other compound nouns made from verbs, adjectives, and prepositions.

In the English language, the term “grown-up” holds a significant place, especially in the context of development and maturation. Commonly used in both casual and formal settings, it serves as a marker of the transition from childhood to adulthood. This article delves into the plural form of “grown-up”, exploring its usage, implications, and common confusions. Understanding the pluralization of this term is not just about grammar; it’s about grasping a concept central to societal and individual growth.

The Singular and Plural of Grown-Up

Singular: grown-up
Plural: grown-ups

The term “grown-up” is a compound noun, formed by combining an adjective “grown” with a preposition “up”. In its plural form, it follows the standard rule of adding an -s to create “grown-ups. This simplicity in pluralization helps maintain clarity in communication.

mature adult

Understanding Grown-Up

Definition of Grown-Up

A "grown-up" is defined as an adult, an individual who has reached full physical and mental maturity. The term doesn't just signify age but also encompasses aspects of responsibility, social roles, and maturity.

Usage of Grown-Up

The usage of “grown-up” is often subjective and can vary depending on cultural, social, and individual perspectives. It is commonly used to differentiate adults from children or adolescents, emphasizing the attained maturity or responsibility.

Use of Grown-Up in Sentences

  1. In a Family Setting: “When I was a child, I looked up to my brother as the most responsible grown-up I knew.”
  2. In Professional Contexts: “The meeting will be held among the grown-ups in the department, focusing on strategic planning.
  3. In Educational Environments: “High school students are on the cusp of becoming grown-ups and face many life-changing decisions.
  4. In Legal Terms: “The court requires a grown-up to be present as a guardian during the proceedings.”
  5. In Cultural Discussions: “In many cultures, ceremonies are held to celebrate the transition from youth to being a grown-up.”

Common Mistakes and Confusions

  • Grown-Up vs. Adult: While “grown-up” and “adult” are often used interchangeably, “adult” is more formal and is used in legal and official contexts.
  • Age Assumption: Assuming all grown-ups possess certain traits or abilities can be misleading; maturity is subjective and varies widely.
  • Hyphenation Errors: Confusion arises regarding the hyphenation in “grown-up”. It is always hyphenated, whether used as a noun or an adjective.

Commonly Asked Questions

  1. Is “grown-ups” always hyphenated?
    Yes, the hyphen remains in both the singular and plural forms.
  2. Can “grown-ups” be used to refer to elderly people?
    While it can, it’s more commonly used to distinguish adults from children, rather than to refer to older adults specifically.
  3. Is there a difference in meaning between “grown-up” and “grownups”?
    No, “grownups” is an informal, less common variant of “grown-ups”, but they share the same meaning.


The plural form of “grown-up”, “grown-ups”, is straightforward in its structure but rich in its application and implications. As a term encapsulating the transition into maturity and responsibility, its correct usage is essential. By understanding and using “grown-ups” appropriately, one acknowledges not just a linguistic rule, but a significant stage in human development.


What is the plural of “grown-up”?

The plural of “grown-up” is “grown-ups.” When forming the plural of a compound noun that is not made of nouns itself, we usually add an “s” to the end of the word. In this case, since neither “grown” nor “up” is a noun, the plural of “grown-up” is “grown-ups.”

How is “grown-up” used in sentences?

Grown-up” can be used as an adjective to describe a person who is fully developed or mature, especially in terms of behavior or attitudes. It can also be used as a noun to refer to an adult. Examples of sentences using “grown-up” include “He is a grown-up and can make his own decisions” and “The party was full of grown-ups having a great time.”

What are some synonyms for “grown-up”?

Synonyms for “grown-up” include “adulty,” “mature,” “developed,” and “adultish.”

Can you provide examples of “grown-up” in both singular and plural forms?

Sure! In the singular form, we can say “He is a grown-up and can make his own decisions.” In the plural form, we can say “The party was full of grown-ups having a great time.”

In what context is “grown-up” used?

“Grown-up” is a common term used in everyday conversation and literature. It is often used to describe something that is suitable for adults, such as a movie or party. It can also be used to describe someone who has a mature outlook.

Jessica Smith

Jessica Smith

Jessica Smith, writer at, blends creativity with insight, exploring technology, culture, and psychology. With a background in English Literature, she crafts engaging stories inspired by nature and urban life. Outside writing, she enjoys exploring and continuous learning.View Author posts

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