Everyone knows that you make plurals in English by an adding an S. So how come we have “men” instead of “mans” and “mice” instead of “mouses”? And why are “sheep” and “fish” the plural and the singular terms?
In this video, I explain the fascinating history of these words and many more from their Old English origins.
You’ll also learn why the plurals of wife, knife, life and half all swap their Fs for Vs to become wives, knives, lives and halves.
I’ll help you navigate the “phenomena” of the Latin and Greek plurals in English. By the end, you’ll know your “crises” from your “indices” and your “cacti” from your “octopi” (it should actually be “octopodes”).
And I’ll also put to bed any confusion over how to order “panini” and to judge “graffiti”.
0:00 Introducing weird plurals in English
2:10 Plurals from Old English (men, geese, mice, feet, teeth)
4:00 Middle English plurals (children & brethren)
5:19 Plurals that don’t change (sheep, fish, moose, deer)
6:32 Knives, halves, wives & lives
8:50 Greek & Latin plurals in English
11:05 Plurals we’re getting wrong (panini, biscotti, grafitti, pierogi)