I recently ended up having a discussion on plurals, the absence of singular and plural form for certain words, and the general oddities of having more than one, or not being able to have only one, of something.
It all started with the absurd question what the plural of “everything” was. That’s right, what if you have many or more than one everything. For those of you not already mind-boggled so hard your brain took a temporary leave of absence, picture this: If you wish to bring everything over there and everything over here somewhere, where are you then bringing the everythings from here and there?
Okay, so once you read it, the question sounds stupid, but not everyone is a linguist. The question you ask is simply where to bring everything.
Plurals in general can give people a hard time. In Canada there is an animal known as a moose. Now this animal is the constant dread of anyone who doesn’t have his or her plurals straight. Let’s take the very similar word ‘noose’ and look at its singular and plural form, noose – nooses.
I’ll tell you this much, if there are many mooses ever about, I will be asking one thing. Of what belonging to Moose there are many about, since surely that’s what the person meant. Now mooses wouldn’t help a stranded candidate struggling to find the words, so the natural hop would be to one goose, many geese. We’ll try that on for size. One moose, many meese? Don’t let urbandictionary fool you, it is very, very much on the wrong side of the grammatically-correct-line.
As most people would know the plural of moose is, drum roll please, that’s right, moose. Along with deer and sheep, one of them is the same as many of them. Other fun words are premises, series, congeries and species which lack a definitive singular or plural form.