Wacky plurals in the English language


Len Rome's Daily Feature of Little Known Facts

(WYTV) – If English is not your first language, it can really be confusing if you’re trying to learn it, and even native speakers can get it wrong.

Let’s look at some weird plural forms of singular nouns. The plural of beef is beeves. This is true only in the sense of “cow.” If you are talking about arguments, those are beefs.

The plural of opus, which means a grand artistic work, especially music, is opera. An opera is more than one opus.

The plural of sphinx is sphinges although “sphinxes” is acceptable.

The plural of biceps is bicepses. Biceps is a singular word, literally translated from the Latin for “two-headed.”

The plural of cul-de-sac is culs-de-sac. In French, cul-de-sac translates to bottom of a sack. So, weirdly, the plural culs-de-sac becomes bottoms of a sack.

The gender neutral plural of brothers and sister is siblings. The gender neutral plural of nieces and nephews is niblings. The word was coined in 1951, so it’s only 70 years old.

The plural of octopus is octopuses, not octopi. If octopus was from Latin, it would be octopi, but it’s Greek.

The plural of Prius is Prii. Nearly two million people voted on the new name in 2011, and Toyota accepted it.
Other entries included Priuses, Prium, and Prien.

The last one we’ll do backward. Spaghetti is plural, the singular form is spaghetti. Just as the singular form of confetti is confetto, and the singular of graffiti is graffito.

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