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An English exam is slowly coming closer and closer, so I'm trying to revise...

I'm holding an English learning book right now, and the very first chapter is dedicated to regular and irregular plural forms of nouns. One exercise wants me to cross out words that are not fitting; for example, from "cows", "tables", "bags", "news", the last noun ("news") goes away, because it only has plural form; and from "play", "family", "dictionary", "university", "play" goes away, because its plural is "plays" and not "plaies".

So now I'm stuck with "potato", "avocado", "tomato", "tuxedo". As far as I'm aware, the plural forms of these nouns are: "potatoes", "avocados", "tomatoes", "tuxedos". So we can say there are two groups with two words per each group: "potatoes" and "tomatoes" vs "avocados" and "tuxedos". Yet the book authors want me to cross "tuxedo" out. How is "tuxedo" any different than "avocado"? To me, these two words are exactly the same, since, in both cases, the plural form is constructed by adding "-s" and not "-es".

What am I failing to grasp?

Edit: As per the request from the comments:

tux•e•do

n.[countable], pl. -dos.

from WordReference.com definition of tuxedo

av•o•ca•do

n.[countable], pl. -dos.

from WordReference.com definition of avocado

to•ma•to

n.[countable], pl. -toes.

from WordReference.com definition of tomato

po•ta•to

n., pl. -toes.

from WordReference.com definition of potato

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    Good question. To make it clear that you have already tried to figure this out on your own before asking here, I would advise editing in some dictionary definitions that corroborate what you say. The only difference I can think of between tuxedo and the other three is that the other three have an a in the paenult; but that doesn’t affect its plural form, so that seems like it would be an odd answer. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Apr 29 '18 at 14:59
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    @JanusBahsJacquet Is it OK now? – gaazkam Apr 29 '18 at 16:25
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    Yes, perfect! @JohnLawler Exams, which is what gaazkam is studying for, do care. And whether we like them or not, exams do have actual impact on people’s lives. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Apr 29 '18 at 16:28
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    Obviously, tuxedo is the odd one out because you can't eat tuxedos. :-) – Peter Shor Apr 29 '18 at 16:36
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Textbooks frequently contain intentional or unintentional misdirection. In this exercise it wants you to cross out words that are not fitting and the first two examples have words that do not fit due to their regular and irregular plural forms, which the chapter is dedicated to.

The question only implies that the words need not fit due to regular and irregular plural forms by virtue of the question is in that chapter.

The third example, "cross out words that are not fitting", offers the words "potato", "avocado", "tomato", "tuxedo". There is no requirement that the word to be crossed out is due to their regular and irregular plural forms, it could be that the word "tuxedo" does not fit as ""potato", "avocado", and "tomato" are edible but "tuxedo" is not.

  • He said the "chapter is dedicated to regular and irregular plural forms of nouns." Are you suggesting that they threw a trick question into the exercises, and it's not really related the topic of the chapter? – Barmar Apr 29 '18 at 19:47
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    Learning English spelling is already for masochists, would they really add this additional layer of sadism? – Barmar Apr 29 '18 at 19:48
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    But, in reverse, the tuxedo is the only item that you will find a tailor fitting . . . ;) – Jason Bassford Apr 29 '18 at 20:27

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