0
votes
2answers
48 views

Does syllabus derive from Greek or Latin?

I'm looking for some hard evidence to determine whether syllabus is a word that derives from Greek or Latin. This came about from a discussion asking whether the plural of syllabus is "syllabuses" or ...
2
votes
2answers
71 views

“Stadiums” vs. “stadia” [duplicate]

I'm not that old, but when I was a child/teen, stadia was the common term. As in: Wembley, the Nou Camp, and the Santiago Bernabeu are football stadia. The MCG and Lord's are cricket stadia. ...
8
votes
3answers
713 views

Does (or did) “a trouser” or “a scissor” have a meaning?

We say (a pair of) trousers, (a pair of) scissors. For these two particular words, is/was there something like "a trouser" or "a scissor"? Did it use to mean anything? E.g. in Czech, the word for ...
12
votes
2answers
602 views

Etymology of certain words ending in “-en”

Tchrist's comment here on my answer to an etymology question brought the following to mind: Ox (from Old English oxa) maintains the same vowel in the plural oxen that it has in the singular. But ...
2
votes
2answers
159 views

You, you two, you people and you'se [duplicate]

I understand that you'se is not considered a formal English word by the Oxford. Colloquially, many people use the word you'se all the time in common conversation. As such, there is a gap in formal ...
0
votes
0answers
30 views

Why *are* pants? [duplicate]

Plural, that is. And it aint just "pants". "Shorts", "boxers", "trousers", even "panties" are all plural. (Although "underwear" ("where is my underwear?") and "thongs" ("He was wearing a thong." ...
1
vote
2answers
168 views

Data as a plural noun [duplicate]

In an academic writing, is it correct to make reference to "the data itself", being that data is a plural noun and itself is a singular pronoun?
4
votes
1answer
220 views

Why have some plural pronouns replaced singular pronouns?

While today we use for example the word "you" for second person singular and plural in objective and subjective manner, there were actually words to differentiate this usages like "thou" and "thee", ...
1
vote
3answers
5k views

Why does “information” not have a plural form?

Why doesn't the word information take an "S" in English even if the meaning is "plural"?
34
votes
2answers
4k views

If the plural of ‘man’ is ‘men,’ shouldn’t the plural of ‘German’ be ‘Germen’?

What makes these two words so different that 'man' is changed to 'men', but 'German' is changed to 'Germans'?
3
votes
1answer
277 views

Origin of plurals and possessives

What is the origin of English plurals and possessives? English plurals look more French plurals, but I am not sure that is where they come from. As for possessives, I don't know where they come from.
44
votes
7answers
4k views

Was “book” to “beek” as “foot” is to “feet”?

"Foot" is a curious word in English because it is pluralized in an unusual way; the "oo" in the word is changed to "ee". Did this once use to be a standard way of pluralizing things in English (or a ...
4
votes
2answers
128 views

Why does the Strait of Hormuz sometimes get pluralized?

On the map, there only seems to be one Strait of Hormuz, and I'd say about 50% of the time, I have indeed heard it referred to as the 'Strait of Hormuz', but the other half of the time people will ...
8
votes
3answers
2k views

Why do we use the plural “heads” and “tails” when describing sides of a coin?

Head or tail sound fine to my ESL ears. What's the reasoning behind the plural usage? I looked it up on etymonline but didn't find anything interesting.
23
votes
2answers
4k views

Why is 'sheep' the same when talking about one or more than one?

I am trying to find out why sheep has the plural sheep. I have found different explanations, such as, "it is because they were seen as uncountable, as in 'a herd of sheep'", "because it comes from ...
27
votes
4answers
3k views

What does the “s” in “thanks” mean?

I'm teaching English in a non-English-speaking country where plural "s" and third-person "s" get confused a lot with no "s" at all. The dialogue in the textbook was explaining how you should respond ...
5
votes
2answers
236 views

What is the origin of the pluralization “virii”?

However wrong it may be, lots of people have pluralized virus as virii. I'd understand viri, but what misconception could lead one to write virii?
13
votes
3answers
4k views

“Cannon” as plural

I'm reading a novel based in ye olde pirate-times, and I have come across the author's usage of "cannon" (without the "s") to refer to multiple cannons. The ship boasted 32 cannon onboard. Is ...
5
votes
1answer
339 views

Diaconate vs. Deacon

A plurality of deacons is called a diaconate. What is the reason for this vowel change ("e" to "i") for these words? Are there any other words that illustrate this?