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need words ending with s,x,z,sh,
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GuestWhat is the correct plural form for octopus
octopuses! I know it sounds strange. We sometimes think it should be octopi, or that octopus is both the singular and the plural form (as in 'sheep'), but no, the plural of octopus is octopuses.
It's been said before, but here's the fully-detailed (too-much-detailed) explanation of octopus. Don't worry if you get confused; this is more for the English-speakers who are confused about the whole matter:

"Octopus" comes from the Greek roots "okto" (eight) and "pous" (foot). It's a Latinized spelling, which is why the "ou" got changed to a "u" (see also "Constantinople" for "Konstantinoupolis"). The "-us" ending leads many people to believe that it's a second-declension Latin noun, but it's not. It's Greek third-declension, the root of which is "pod-":

The singular nominative was originally "pods", but the language evolved so that "ts", "ds", and "ths" all became "s". To compensate for the lost consonant, the preceding short vowel was lengthened (so "pods" > "poos", or "pous"). The rest of the declension -- "podos", "podi", and "poda" in the singular -- was unchanged, because there was no S to take away the D. The plural goes "podes", "podon", "pousi" (from "podsi"), and "podas". Therefore, going by Greek standards, the plural of "oktopous" would be "oktopodes" (or "octopus" > "octopodes").

The reason you don't see more "pus"/"pous" spellings is that, during the Renaissance, words tended to be derived from the undeclined roots themselves and not from the declined nominatives. A camera therefore rests on a tripod, not a tripodes.

Incidentally, "cactus" is another word that people assume to be Latin and make "cacti" the plural. The original word is "kaktos", the plural of which is "kaktoi".

So you can be pedantic and insist on "octopodes" and "cactoi"; you can be foolish and insist on "octopi" and "cacti"; or you can take a much preferable middle ground and just say "octopuses" and "cactuses" and leave all the silly etymological stuff for the people who care way too much about it. Emotion: smile

Interestingly enough, the only areas where people do apparently care about Greek plurals is in dental-stem neuter nouns of the third declension. Take the root "dogmat-", for example. To form the singular, you add nothing to the stem (dogmat), and since Greek words can end only in N, S, or a vowel, the T disappears (dogma). To form the plural, you add an A to the stem (dogmata). (Stigma/stigmata is another example) There are few of these words but oddly enough, it comes off as uneducated not to know them. (if you're really interested, the "dogmat-" stem holds through the rest of the declension: dogmatos, dogmati, etc.)
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Anonymous
I am a Chinese and English is not my native language.

A countable noun ends with "f" or "fe" when convering to plural ...... PLUS ves but drop f or fe

Can anyone tell me why the plural for giraffe is giraffes and not change to ves. Is there any rules to define when to add "s" and when to change to "ves". Thank you for your help.

V is nothing more than a voiced F; "-ves" means that you voice the F at the end of the word. In English, we make an unvoiced final sound longer than its voiced equivalent. Compare "roofs" and "rooves": in the second, the vowel is much longer than in the first. We often use vowel length to indicate whether the final consonant is voiced or unvoiced, and the opposite is true in writing. "Girraves" would be pronounced differently than "giraffes"; the A sound would lengthen and the fs/vs would reduce. As it is, the A sound is short comparative to the "ffes".

I'm sorry if this is too technical; I don't know how to explain it otherwise. Emotion: sad
what is the plural word for THE??

Many thank Teresa
"The" is the definite article, and has the same form in the plural:

The boy, the boys / the girl, the girls / the table, the tables.
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beers
GuestIn the form of the word Spacecraft, would an S be added if there are more than one craft?
Spacecraft or Spacecrafts. Either refers to more than one spacecraft.. Here is a URL on irregular plurals.

http://www2.gsu.edu/~wwwesl/egw/crump.htm#ListThree
budget

excursion

blouse

expression

entertainment

virtue

diary
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Hi,

Entertainment can be counted (add 's') but is normally used as uncountable.

For the others, just add an 's'. ( except for diaries)

Best wishes, Clive
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