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11 Irregular Plural Words That Sound Completely Wrong—But Aren’t

We all know irregular plurals like "geese" and "mice." But have you ever heard of "beeves" or "sphinges"? Laugh yourself stupid with our smart grammar quiz.

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The plural of “beef” is…

The plural of beef is… beeves! This is true only for “beef” in the sense of “cow”; If you’re talking about arguments between whiny celebrities on Twitter, then those are beefs. You’ve probably been saying these 24 things wrong the whole time.

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The plural of “opus” is…

The plural of opus is… opera! (So, an opera is more than one opus? Mind-blown.) Check out these 20 funny grammar jokes word nerds will definitely understand.

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The plural of “sphinx” is…

The plural of sphinx is… sphinges! (Though “sphinxes” is an acceptable secondary option.)

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The plural of “biceps” is…

The plural of biceps is… bicepses! That’s right: “biceps” is a singular word, literally translated from the Latin for “two-headed” (each of your biceps connects to the upper arm via two heads, one short and one long.) These 7 punctuation mistakes are making you look stupid.

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The plural of “cul-de-sac” is…

The plural of cul-de-sac is… culs-de-sac. In French, cul-de-sac literally translates to “bottom of a sack.” So, weirdly, the plural culs-de-sac becomes “Bottoms of a sack.” (That sack’s got back!)

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The plural of “nieces and nephews” is…

The plural, gender neutral form of nieces and nephews is… niblings! Yes, it was only coined in 1951—all the more reason to make sure it doesn’t disappear! Always remember these 8 apostrophe rules to idiot-proof your grammar.

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The plural of “attorney general” is…

The plural of attorney general is… attorneys general! Similarly, see also: postmasters general, mothers-in-law, and coups d’etat. Did you know you’re probably pronouncing “the” wrong? 

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The plural of “octopus” is…

The plural of octopus is… octopuses! No—NOT octopi. Here’s the deal: “Octopi” is how you would make the word plural in Latin; unfortunately, “octopus” is not a Latin word—it’s Greek. The Greek way to make octopus plural is “Octopodes.” So, why don’t we say that? Because, linguists say, when you add a word to the English lexicon, you give all forms of the word an English inflection. So, octopus becomes octopuses. Silly as it sounds, stick with that.

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The plural of “lasagna” is…

The plural of lasagna is… lasagne! It refers to the large, flat pasta as well as the dish itself; technically, you should be ordering the lasagne from your favorite Italian bistro. This is the craziest English grammar rule you probably didn’t know.

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The plural of “Prius” is…

The plural of Prius is… Prii! Toyota officially announced this new word after a 2011 vote of more than 1.8 million people. Prii trounced runners-up (another weird plural) including Priuses, Prium, and Prien.

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The SINGULAR form of “spaghetti” is…

And the singular form of spaghetti is… spaghetto! Similarly (awesomely), the singular form of confetti is confetto, and the singular of graffiti is graffito. Language… it’s greato! Next up, learn the 70 words and phrases you’ve probably been using all wrong.

 

Originally Published in Reader's Digest