I've learned quite recently, that plural form from comma is commata (but commas is also correct, such as index-indices-indexes). I've learned the rule for German, and I've checked the English version too.

This is the first time I've consciously seen that word (I could came across it before, but I haven't notice). What is the usage of that 2 plural forms? Which is more recent in professional literature (for blogs/twitter&co I'd guess, 'commas')?

Should I, as non-native speaker, making many common mistakes, use such 'finesse' plural forms, or it sounds funny in such context?

  • 4
    I have never seen commata in the wild - goo.gl/FFj7oh
    – mplungjan
    Commented Feb 11, 2014 at 14:29
  • I have, but only in their natural habitat, i.e. Greece. Where people would mean "parties" as in political organisations.
    – oerkelens
    Commented Feb 11, 2014 at 15:47
  • 1
    I would imagine that "commata" is used in English at most in technical jargon. But the OED does not even list that. I did find that "commata" is a programming language designed for golfing ... github.com/totallyhuman/commata
    – GEdgar
    Commented Mar 20, 2019 at 15:16
  • The OED does have "commata": *comma, n. -- Forms: Plural commas (formerly -aes); as Latin or Greek, commata /ˈkɒmətə/. It also appears in MW unabridged (paywalled.)
    – Greybeard
    Commented Oct 16, 2022 at 23:01
  • I enjoy writing commata when speaking for myself, but have not dared to do so in (e.g.) a Wikipedia article. Commented Oct 17, 2022 at 4:14

1 Answer 1


Use commas, not commata. The latter is simply not used by native speakers.

Take a look, for example, at Google's Ngram Viewer on commas versus commata:

Google's Ngram Viewer on *commas* versus *commata*

It's not even close.

  • Righty-o, make sure you have a very long pole if you are trying to touch it. :)
    – Lambie
    Commented Oct 16, 2022 at 21:18

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