Tuesday, January 01, 2019

Advice on plurals, Ohio Farmer 8(3):23, January 15, 1859

Remember, though box

in the plural makes boxes

The plural of ox

Should be oxen, not oxes.

And remember, though fleece

In the plural is fleeces,

The the plural of goose

Aren’t gooses nor geeces.

And remember, though house

In the plural is houses

The plural of mouse

Should be mice, not mouses.

All of which goes to prove

That grammar a farce is

For where is the plural

of rum and molasses?

There are many versions of this poem on the internet, and most start with ox and oxen, and some include papoose, man, vine, etc. But this just shows people were having fun with it 160 years ago. I copied it on the back of scrap card when I was writing an article about women writers for this journal for Serials Librarian. It's possible there are more cards, and they are in the dark recesses of my desk.  I had opened a drawer wondering if I needed to make a New Year’s Resolution about cleaning my desk!

There are also many explanations in Quora on how all these plurals happened, and they don’t seem to agree with each other.


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