Concerning Plurality

Davdi Silverrock davdisil at gmail.com
Tue Nov 29 12:10:44 PST 2005

On 11/29/05, Jon_Lincicum at stream.com <Jon_Lincicum at stream.com> wrote:
> If you really want to geek out about it, here's a good read on plural
> forms in English:
> http://bartleby.com/64/81.html


"Some nouns, mainly names of birds, fishes, and mammals, have the same
form in the plural as in the singular. [...] Some words that follow
this pattern [...] also have regular plurals ending in -s."

"Many words indicating nationality or place of origin have the same
form in the plural as in the singular."

"Similarly a few names of tribes or peoples have the same form in the
plural as in the singular. Many other such names have both an
unchanged plural form and a regular plural form ending in -s."

"Many nouns derived from a foreign language retain their foreign plurals."

Given that the House names are also animal names, and can be
considered, in a sense, to indicate a sort of nationality and/or tribe
and/or "people", and most are in a "foreign" language, well, I'm not
surprised that it is confusing, and both changed and unchanged plural
usage can seem correct either way, in certain situations.  Sigh.

I did want to come up with some vague basis for a standard for the
wikipedia.  I would prefer my own preferences, of course, since my
idiosyncrasies and eccentricities are more correct than anyone else's

I guess that will have to wait until I (or someone) has the time and
inclination to search the books carefully for modified and unmodified
plural forms.  Or perhaps SKZB might offer to explain what standards,
if any, he uses.  I would have thought that there had to be something,
since copy-editors and whatnot might feel inclined to, well, edit the

Incidentally, book search does not find any occurrence of "Phoenixes"
in any of the books in its index (which includes TPG and FHYA, where
the word might legitimately occur).  I think we've nailed down
"Teckla" as being definitely an unmodified plural.  Fifteen more to

1: This follows logically from generalizing from one example.