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3
votes
1answer
561 views

“A mice problem” vs. “a mouse problem”

My friend said to me one day: "We have a mice problem at UNI". Is "a mice problem" grammatical as opposed to "a mouse problem"?
22
votes
6answers
134k views

Which is correct: “troubleshooted” or “troubleshot”?

Troubleshooted is not a word, but troubleshot is. Is this really the correct word to use? I always feel like saying: I troubleshooted it. vs I troubleshot it For some reason, it just ...
15
votes
3answers
33k views

Is there a term for words that have identical singular and plural forms?

Is there a term for nouns that have identical singular and plural forms? For example, sheep fish glasses aircraft/spacecraft etc.
10
votes
1answer
5k views

UK English: Is “dived” a valid word?

Proofing a manuscript, I found this in the middle of a chase scene: Spotting an opening, I dived into it and was horrified to find it was a dead end. Is “dived” a valid past tense of the verb ...
29
votes
5answers
2k views

Is it possible for a new irregular verb to appear in English language?

Consider these verbs in past tense: faxed, emailed, googled they are all regular verbs made out of new nouns. Are there any new irregular verbs that I'm not aware of?
11
votes
1answer
11k views

When should a singular word ending in “y” end in “ies” plurally?

Words like "sky" and "money" have "ies" as a plural suffix (i.e. "skies" and "monies") but other words like "monkey" and "Emmy" do not ("monkeys" and "Emmys"). Is there a rule dictating the use of ...
30
votes
3answers
3k views

Is there any noun in English which changes the first letter in the plural?

Plenty of nouns change the second letter to become plural (man->men, goose->geese) but does anything change its first letter. I've hunted high and low over the internet, and spent ages browsing the ...
14
votes
2answers
52k views

Why is the plural of “deer” the same as the singular?

Why is the plural version of deer identical to the singular version? If mouse became mice, then why did the singular deer not change to something else in the plural?
9
votes
3answers
862 views

Evolution of irregular verbs over the last century

I learned at school that irregular verbs are slowly disappearing from the language: "spelled" is more used than "spelt", "learned" than "learnt", etc. But recently, someone told me that some new ...
1
vote
2answers
1k views

Irregular verbs in English

The English language has a huge number of irregular verbs(~470). This is significantly more than other languages e.g. French (~130), German (~200) Irregular verbs make the English language ...
10
votes
6answers
1k views

When is it correct to not use the irregular form for a plural? e.g. mouses vs. mice

I seem to recall that an English teacher somewhere along the course of my education had indicated that when referencing distinct types of a word, e.g. a computer mouse and the mammal, it would be ...
2
votes
1answer
9k views

Why is “sew” pronounced as “so”?

Why is sew (/səʊ/ or /sō/) pronounced similar to so rather than to few or sue? Looking at its etymology, Old English siwian "to stitch," earlier siowian, from Proto-Germanic *siwjanan (cf. Old ...
1
vote
0answers
255 views

Irregular plurals in noun adjuncts

Several psycholinguists1,2 have observed that English speakers do not use regular plurals in compounds, even when the noun refers to more than one instance (dog-catcher, *dogs-catcher), but do use ...
28
votes
3answers
10k 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 ...
10
votes
4answers
3k views

How to deal with irregular plural(s)?

What happens if you have a written phrase like We were looking at the same poster(s). but with a noun that has an irregular plural? E.g. with baby/babies, would this be the correct form? We ...
6
votes
2answers
492 views

How can you make “to be” explicit and simple in this future conditional sentence?

I can say "Jerry's been a bad pussycat this morning" or "Hey, Jerry, you be a good pussycat now" or "Jerry's been active all morning so he's being a good pussycat now". All these involve the use of ...
6
votes
1answer
679 views

Are there other verbs like “be” and “go”?

The verbs be and go have the nice peculiarity that their various forms (be/was and go/went) come from originally distinct verbs. Are there other such verbs?
6
votes
2answers
5k views

'Irrealistic' or 'unrealistic'?

I basically learnt that words that start with a 'm' or 'p' get 'im' as a negative prefix, whilst words starting with 'r' get 'ir' in such a case (irreverent, irrelevant). However, I stumbled upon ...
3
votes
3answers
889 views

Plurality of data [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is “data” considered singular or plural? Milton Friedman, the Nobel-prize winning economist used to threaten that he would "take away any graduate student's ...
0
votes
1answer
142 views

Which words have a long vowel before the suffix -ic?

In many cases in English, vowels followed by a single consonant are pronounced short (also called lax) when followed by the suffix -ic or -ical, even if they are long in other related words. Some ...