Don’t let these plural forms trip you up

Bewildered. That’s how I feel when it comes to the rules of English spelling.

Writers and editors see it daily. I recently had to check the spelling of “subterfuge” because it couldn’t possibly be spelled “subterfuge” (it is).

One area of spelling that is particularly challenging: finding correct plural forms. These can trip writers up, because they’re difficult to spell and difficult to pronounce.

Below are 29 tricky plurals:

  1. antennae
  2. asterisks
  3. attorneys general
  4. axes (plural of axis)
  5. bases (plural of basis)
  6. courts-martial
  7. culs-de-sac
  8. diagnoses
  9. dos and don’ts
  10. emphases
  11. hippopotami
  12. jacks-in-the-box
  13. jack-o-lanterns
  14. memos
  15. mongooses
  16. mothers-in-law
  17. mottoes (plural of motto)
  18. neuroses
  19. oases (plural of oasis)
  20. octopuses
  21. parentheses
  22. passersby
  23. plateau
  24. runners-up
  25. sheaves (plural of sheaf)
  26. staves (plural of staff)
  27. syllabi
  28. theses (plural of thesis)
  29. yeses and nos

What others can you think of?

This post was also published on Ragan Communication’s PR Daily.

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