Take our quiz on pluralisation
You have a thing.
You add another thing.
You have two things.
Adding an s to the singular to make a plural is simple, straightforward and sensible.
Unfortunately these aren’t words you would associate with the English language. With its rules, exceptions and contradictions, no one said it was going to be easy.
Add to that the fact that a great deal of English words are derived from Latin. And another dollop are derived from the very differently structured Greek. So we use some of the original plural forms. Apart from when we don’t do that. Just cos…
Here’s a dozen of the stranger plurals noted as ‘official’. See how you do…
(Answers at the bottom of the page.)
The Proper Plural Quiz
8. Nieces and nephews
How did you do?
These are the 'officially correct' plural forms of each of the words above. However, many of them have become obsolete due to common usage. We have noted these in the answers.
It's just a bit of fun.
B – Amoebae
Amoebas is also acceptable.
C – Beeves
If you have many arguments with many people, they would be ‘beefs’.
C – Bicepses
Biceps is singular and comes from the Latin for ‘two-headed’.
A – Cola
Colons is also acceptable.
B – Culs-de-sac
From the French for ‘bottom of a sack’.
C – Deer
Lots of elderly ladies may be ‘dears’ but no ‘deers’ here.
B – Lasagne
Lasagna is a single sheet of pasta.
A – Niblings
Not to be confused with little bowls of crisps and peanuts.
A – Octopuses
Octopi would be correct if the word was Latin. But it isn’t Latin, it’s Greek. Technically that would make the plural Octopodes. So feel free to use that too.
C – Sphinges
Sphinxes has become acceptable.
C – Syllabi
From the Latin word ‘sillybus’. Syllabuses is also fine.
B – Tuna
If you’re referring to more than one type of sushi, tunas would be correct. But lots of the small fish swimming together would be tuna.