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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 "ies"?

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It's determined by the letter before the y:

monkey: vowel + y => monkeys
sky: consonant + y => skies

Exception: proper nouns like "Emmy" sometimes form the plural by adding "s".

Monies I don't know about, so hopefully someone else can fill in that detail.

  • 1
    The question mentioned moneymonies. Surely that is an exception too. – Timwi Aug 30 '10 at 13:21
  • @Timwi: you are right, again. Since "money" is not a singular but an uncountable noun, I'm not clear on that. – delete Aug 30 '10 at 13:31
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    The word can be "moneys" or "monies". OED says: "In the plural, both moneys and monies are found in modern use; monies occurs especially in legal contexts." Also, I see many older entries in the OED for "monie" as a singular, so the legal term may have been created then, and then stayed around because of that (as often happens with legal terms, see British "judgement": english.stackexchange.com/questions/1623/judgment-or-judgement) – Kosmonaut Aug 30 '10 at 14:02
  • There's one in every crowd, has to break the rules. It's a bit weird if you ask me. Thanks for the answer. – soutarm Sep 1 '10 at 3:15
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    According to this, "monies" came into usage in the mid-19th century, after "moneys", so it's probably only an exception to the rule as a result of an alteration of the form which fit the rule. – 404 Not Found Aug 19 '13 at 4:22
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Monies is one of those words where an error crept in and and is now accepted as an exception. The plural of money (and there IS a plural in legal and accounting) should be, and is still acceptable as, moneys, and then there isn't an exception.

The general rule - if the Y is preceded by a consonant, then it is replaced by IES. If the Y is preceded by a vowel, add S.

This also works for verbs (I carry - he carries, I play, he plays). Nice and consistent.

protected by tchrist Nov 28 '14 at 16:12

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