Never Trust Grammar. Even if it is Delicious.
Plurality. Not that kind.
You just can’t trust grammar. Maybe, to be fair, you can’t trust grammar and etymology.
Our American English is like shish kebab – each word on the stake is part of the same delicious meal, but each one is also a totally distinct vegetable. Or in this particular case, a totally distinct flower.
I just looked up the plural of crocus to see if it is crocuses (easier to say) or croci (funnier to look at). Turns out either one is acceptable. In fact, it’s even okay to use the singular form, i.e., “While thinking about my blog post I accidentally stepped on a cluster of crocus”. Or crocuses. Or croci.
Not helpful. Because for those of us who suffer from indecision, multiple options like this can bring on total gridlock.
The problem is certain words like octopus, syllabus and cactus which originate in ancient Greece are pluralized as though they were of Roman origin. Think about alumnus/alumni and you get the idea.
Which begs the question, are these words purposely disguising themselves as ancient Romans and if so, what is their end game?
Are they operating undercover in our cities and towns, covering up their ancient Greek accents with more modern ancient Roman declensions? Can we trust words which have replaced their Grecian garb with togas?
Are they friends or foes? Do they mean to trip us up with their tricky pluralizing and are they laughing at us when we do trip up? Are they planning to go further undercover and re-emerge as, say, ancient Chinese words?
These are the kinds of things we all worry about. Okay, maybe you don’t. But apparently I do.
Rose Grey has written three romance novels and is hard at work on a fourth. If you liked this post, come visit the rest of the blog at www.rosegreybooks.com. Hot Pursuit and Not As Advertised are available as ebooks and as paperbacks online.