4

Each day in the office we choose a 'word of the day.' We have started to keep a list of the words.

What should the list be called?
1. Words of the Day — implies many words but one day
2. Word of the Days
3. Words of the Days

12

The plural is indeed Words of the Day. Nouns are pluralised, and the adjectival phrase of the Day is not.

There are other examples one might cite: President of Zaire; Queen of England — referring to more than one president or queen requires Presidents of Zaire, Queens of England. In some cases (for example between 1952 and 2002) there has indeed been more than one Queen of England at once, but Queens of England is still the title for a list.

  • 2
    I'm with you on this. If I said "I went to my favourite restaurant every day last week", a valid question would be "What were the soups of the day?". It is incorrect to say "What were the soup of the days" or "what were the soups of the days". – Ste Nov 28 '13 at 12:19
  • @Ste The example doesn't compute, or compare. "Here's the list: Soup of the Day -- Mon: ..." And if you were to list only the soups and not the days, that's a different question altogether. – Kris Nov 28 '13 at 13:01
  • We are talking about the title of the list, as a heading. Soups of the Day: Monday - whatever; Tuesday - something else... It's not naming each one individually; and neither is it using it as a [compound] attributive noun "Soup of the Day list" -- nouns as adjectives are not pluralised. This is a heading. – Andrew Leach Nov 28 '13 at 13:08
  • 1
    If I say "Photos of the day" it sounds ambiguous. It could be a selection of the best photos posted that day from all around the world, or it could be a list of the best photo chosen each day. Your examples of Presidents of Zaire; Queens of England doesn't quite nail it. We know from experience that you can't have two queens or presidents ruling at the same time, so logically in our minds, we make sense of this phrase and we cannot help but interpret it as being a list of individual queens of England and presidents of Zaire who ruled at different times. – Mari-Lou A Nov 28 '13 at 21:47
  • 3
    The fundamental difference between your examples here and the asker’s examples is that there is only one Zaire and England, but multiple presidents and queens, whereas this list is explicitly trying to indicate that we are dealing with the individual (singular) words collated from several different days. I can think of no way of pluralising this that shows unambiguously that it is a list of singular words from plural days (i.e., there can be only one word per day, but there are more than one days). – Janus Bahs Jacquet Nov 29 '13 at 2:12
-3

It's still Word of the Day, for all the words.

Wonder why? The list has many words, each for its respective day. So, it's a 'Word of the Day List'.

Google Nails It:
"word of the day list" OR "words of the day list"

Word Of The Day List #2
English Word of the Day: July 2012
Word of the day list: Word of the day for fall 2010
Word of the Day, List 3

Man of the series awards
Employee of the Month -->Scroll down to table
Man-of-the-Match Tables
Most player-of-the-match awards
Tendulkar has won a world record of 62 ODI Man of the Match Awards in his career.
Sports Person of the Year Awards 2013
Small Business Person of the Year Awards (pdf)

  • "It's still Word of the Day". No, it couldn't. However it could be "word of the day list" just exactly as you go on to say. or it could be "Word of the day words". but the heading couldn't be "word of the day" as that would be one word. – Fattie May 23 '15 at 16:52
-3

The best bet is to say: 'Past "Word of the Day" words!'

"Words of the Days" (both esses) is perfectly correct - and kind of cool.

Andrew above has (accidentally!) shown why "Words of the Day" is wrong.

It's a completely commonplace solution, and often the only solution, that when you have a long adjectival phrase, the only real solution is to put it in double quotes with a container word afterwards. For example: My favourite "You can eat them raw" animals.

Note that - indeed - you can get away without the quotes if the phrase is common enough. So, You can just write 'Sister-in-law jokes!' you don't have to write '"Sister-in-law" jokes!'. (But you do have to write '"You can eat them raw" animals'.) Since "Word of the Day" is pretty common, away you go: 'Here's all out previous Word of the Day words from the previous 100 days!'

That's all there is to it. It's totally common and normal that you can't easily and unambiguously pluralise a complex phrase, so no issue here. In this case you just use the overall phrase as an adjective with a container word after it. It's the only way to be really clear.

It's also totally normal that the container word sort of doubles up from the phrase itself; that's cool. So, someone was saying like "Take all the "never working server" servers, and then take the "sometimes working server" servers, and .. such and such". You know? It's rather sort of Seinfeld sounding, and totally clear.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.