[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index][Subject Index][Author Index]
Mind your manus (was Re: bcf vs. badd)
>>Oddly enough, the plural of manus is... manus!
>Oddly enough, that's proof that I am only an avocational paleontologist with
>but a fleeting knowledge of latin. 'Course, I almost wrote manuses.
> Michael "We're not in Kansas anymore" Sternberg
Actually I suspect that there would have been nothing wrong with "manuses".
The latin plural comes from the fact that this is a fifth (fourth? I forget)
declension noun, and it is incorrect to form its plural as though it were
second (first?) declension (as "mani" would be). But as we do not have such
things in english "manuses" ought to be okay.
This is similar to the plural of words ending in "pus" where this means
"foot" such as octopus or platypus. the plural of "pus" in latin is not
"pi" but "podes", so the plural of octopus ought to be "octopodes".
"Octopi" is just plain wrong. But, as Fowler points out in "Modern English
Usage", "octopodes" is just too pedantic so "octopuses" is the preferred plural.
Of course there is at least one perfectly good English word that does use
the "podes" plural - "antipodes", so called because they are the part of the
world opposite your feet.
Ronald I. Orenstein Phone: (905) 820-7886 (home)
International Wildlife Coalition Fax/Modem: (905) 569-0116 (home)
Home: 1825 Shady Creek Court Messages: (416) 368-4661
Mississauga, Ontario, Canada L5L 3W2 Internet: firstname.lastname@example.org
Office: 130 Adelaide Street W., Suite 1940
Toronto, Ontario Canada M5H 3P5