The question "Can 'childs' ever be the plural of 'child' in standard English ?" produced answers which agreed that it could not.

However, I notice today that, in Court, children, who had been named for the sake of anonymity as 'child two', 'child three' and 'child four', had been collectively referred to as 'childs two, three and four'.

Earlier in the inquest, the court heard Shukri had gone down to the river after school with Child One and three others ­— known as Childs Two, Three and Four.

Bolton News 26th February 2020

This appears to me to be perfectly correct.

Are the Court, the newspaper report and myself all wrong in thinking that this is a 'standard English' way of properly referring to the children in question ?

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    Does this answer your question? Can "childs" ever be the plural of "child", in standard English? The OED stance is given here. Feb 26 '20 at 17:12
  • @EdwinAshworth I noticed that question before writing my own. The conclusion is at odds with what has appeared in Court and in print. Hence my own question.This application was not considered in the previous question or answers.
    – Nigel J
    Feb 26 '20 at 17:21
  • OED carries out corpus studies to examine what should be considered standard practice (and emulated). The odd counterexamples one encounters do not establish an acceptable alternative. And courts have been guilty of missentencing in the past. // Wiktionary is cogent here: childs (nonstandard, rare) plural of child ... Usage notes Primarily used in dialogue, to indicate that a foreign or illiterate speaker has a poor grasp of the English language. Feb 26 '20 at 17:39
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    And I'm not convinced that the court actually used the term 'childs'; this could be the reporter wrongly abbreviating 'Child Two, Child Three, and Child Four'. Try contacting the editor. Feb 26 '20 at 17:45
  • @EdwinAshworth I suppose it may hang on what part of speech 'child' is in the title 'child one'. 'Children one, two and three' in this context does not seem to me (as a native speaker) as 'correct' as 'childs one, two and three' but I am not certain I can actually explain why I say that.
    – Nigel J
    Feb 26 '20 at 18:12

The plural of child is children.

Collectively, "child one, child two and child three" refer to the children involved.

Perhaps the Editor of the newspaper in question was on holiday when the paper was "put to bed"?

  • Please examine claimed potential duplicates before submitting an 'answer'. And note that even correct answers, if unsupported by linked and attributed references, come across as (and may be no more than) personal opinion. Imagine someone answering "Can the plural of 'mouse' ever be 'mouses'?" with "The plural of 'mouse' is 'mice'." Mar 1 '20 at 19:42
  • @Edwin Ashworth - I appreciate the comments you have made to me and in response to the question asked by Nigel J. I shall, in future, apply your advice.
    – Lesley
    Mar 2 '20 at 8:33

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