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In his free time he likes to play Scrabble and design word-nerdy t-shirts.So while it's easy to chalk up these mistakes to simple ignorance, I think the real reason is much more interesting.For four hundred years, English speakers have been struggling to adapt some very foreign grammar to fit our language.This zero plural has a long history and was not formerly as socially stigmatized as it is today.It appears in literary works dating from the Middle English period to the present day, including works of dialect writers, such as this example from Mark Twain's Huck Finn: "The nearest white settlement warnt nearer nor four mile." · In adjectival constructions even Standard English has no -s plural: a five-pound box of candy is acceptable, whereas a five-pounds box is not.Jonathon Owen is a copy editor and student of linguistics who "holds the paradoxical view that it's possible to be a prescriptivist and descriptivist simultaneously." Here, he looks at how people can get tripped up on words with unusual plural forms like formed from them.
It's easy to dismiss such errors as the product of modern ignorance — people these days just don't know their Latin and Greek declensions like they used to — but these variant forms have existed almost since these words were first borrowed into English. They come from a much more complicated system of inflection than English speakers are used to.· The absence of -s in the plural form of animal names (hunting for bear, a herd of buffalo) probably arose by analogy with animals like deer and sheep whose plurals have been unmarked since the earliest beginnings of the English language. of or belonging to the grammatical category of number used to indicate that a word has more than one referent, as children or them, or in some languages more than two referents, as Old English ge “you.” craps - a gambling game played with two dice; a first throw of 7 or 11 wins and a first throw of 2, 3, or 12 loses and a first throw of any other number must be repeated to win before a 7 is thrown, which loses the bet and the dice Ludi Saeculares, secular games - the centennial rites and games of ancient Rome that marked the commencement of a new generation (100 years representing the longest life in a generation); observances may have begun as early as the 5th century BC and lasted well into the Christian era Stations, Stations of the Cross - (Roman Catholic Church) a devotion consisting of fourteen prayers said before a series of fourteen pictures or carvings representing successive incidents during Jesus' passage from Pilate's house to his crucifixion at Calvaryround - (often plural) a series of professional calls (usually in a set order); "the doctor goes on his rounds first thing every morning"; "the postman's rounds"; "we enjoyed our round of the local bars"bones, castanets, clappers, finger cymbals - a percussion instrument consisting of a pair of hollow pieces of wood or bone (usually held between the thumb and fingers) that are made to click together (as by Spanish dancers) in rhythm with the dance, as the S does with us, the new student is likely to go on for a month making twins out of a Dative dog before he discovers his mistake; and on the other hand, many a new student who could ill afford loss, has bought and paid for two dogs and only got one of them, because he ignorantly bought that dog in the Dative singular when he really supposed he was talking Poor Dolly's exposition of her simple Raveloe theology fell rather unmeaningly on Silas's ears, for there was no word in it that could rouse a memory of what he had known as religion, and his comprehension was quite baffled by the number,--more exactly, I will say, I have just been conversing with one man, to whom no weight of adverse experience will make it for a moment appear impossible that thousands of human beings might exercise towards each other the grandest and simplest sentiments, as well as a knot of friends, or a pair of lovers.Miss Slowboy, in the mean time, who had a mechanical power of reproducing scraps of current conversation for the delectation of the baby, with all the sense struck out of them, and all the nouns changed into the number, inquired aloud of that young creature, Was it Gruffs and Tackletons the toymakers then, and Would it call at Pastry-cooks for wedding-cakes, and Did its mothers know the boxes when its fathers brought them homes; and so on.Pluralizing Latin and Greek words requires us to first remove one ending and then attach another, a process which we're simply not accustomed to.To make matters worse, many of these words almost sound as if the plural has had part of the singular ending taken away instead of added on or replaced.In a nutshell, I believe this is why English speakers struggle so much with Latin and Greek plurals.