Dictionaries are our friends

Odd Plurals

While I was writing this afternoon, I found myself needing to check what the plural for ‘octopus’ would be. I’ve always thought that you would say ‘one octopus, two octopi,’ however, I’ve come to learn that I have been using the wrong word my whole life because the plural for ‘octopus’ is ‘octopuses’.

With that, I was led down a plural rabbit hole, and I realised, there are a lot of odd plurals out there in this English language of ours, and so I thought that I would share some of them with you.

Odd Plurals

Knife: the plural of knife is not knifes, it’s obviously knives, but you would think that a simple ‘s’ on the end of the word would have sufficed. One knife, two knives.

Radius: the plural of radius is not radiuses, but rather radii. One radius, many radii.

Goose: the plural of goose is geese. Gooses, however, is an informal verb which means ‘to poke someone in the bottom’ (!) Rude! One goose, two geese.

Syllabus: syllabus becomes syllabi and not syllabuses, which admittedly is a bit of a mouthful. One syllabus, many syllabi.

Diagnosis: the plural form of diagnosis is not diagnosises, but diagnoses, which is pronounced di-ag-no-sees. One diagnosis, many diagnoses.

Cul-de-sac: you may think that the plural of cul-de-sac is cul-de-sacs, and while some dictionaries list it as an acceptable plural, the proper plural for cul-de-sac is… culs-de-sac! One cul-de-sac, two culs-de-sac!

So, those were six odd plurals! Many of the simpler plural forms do appear in some dictionaries because, the more people use them, the more accepted as standard words they become.

As always, thanks for spending your valuable time reading my words, it is very much appreciated!

Until next time,

George

© 2018 GLT

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