Compounds plural or compound plurals? That is the question …
We were already compiling a few notes about the “art of pluralizing” when we got a rash of input (from TV, Twitter, and email) about the plurals of compound nouns, specifically those compound nouns consisting of a noun plus a modifier.
We’re taking our best shots here, so please feel free to disagree or otherwise comment.
daddy longlegs – conventional wisdom would lead us to the plural form of: daddies longlegs, however, since that is cumbersome, we suggest: Harvestmen
Attorney General – no question about this one: Attorneys General
gin and tonic – conventional wisdom (gins and tonic) again loses out here (we defer to ironic1.com for this one ): gin and tonics
notary public – not much question with this one: notaries public
brother-in-law – consistent formation found for this plural: brothers-in-law
maid of honor – 1) for more than one honor: maid of honors; 2) for more than one wedding attendant: maids of honor (please, only one MOH per wedding); for more than one copy of the movie Made of Honor: we suggest DVDs.
man-of-war – encounter one and there are likely more on the beach or in the water: men-of-war
Bride of Chucky – ok, so are you talking about the plural of Chucky’s mates or the number of movies … or, even, the possessive? For our purposes here, today: Brides of Chucky
Good, now we’re getting more input. In a recent Twitter conversation:
@NeillShentonto @GrammarCops“ok, what about multiple spoons full of something? Plural* me that – i’d rather rephrase a sentence than type THAT ugly word.”
Maybe Arnold is on tour with Neil Diamond’s Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show? California to Broadway … it would give a whole new meaning to Dancing With The Stars! Now, we’d pay good money to see that revue!
This listing also reminded us of the “Uncle Sam” U.S. Army posters from the 1940s. These messages were directly and effectively targeted. They were unambiguous, to say the least. There was no doubt that Uncle Sam wanted Y-O-U! Not someone like you. Not your friends. Not your family. Not your referrals. YOU!
So, we ask, why would a company who, we believe, really wants you, advertise that they need someone “like you” ?
Drink, drank, drunk. We went to a party. Did she drink all night? Yes, she drank most of the night. She might have drunk most of the evening. She surely had enough to drink that she became drunk!
Shrink, shrank, shrunk.We were doing laundry. Oh my, did his shirt shrink? Oops, yes, it shrank. we’ll be in big trouble when he finds out his shirt has shrunk. Guess we’ll just shrink away into the other room …
Sink, sank, sunk.We were watching a blockbuster movie the other night. Did the Titanic really sink? Oh yes, it sank. Do you think Leo would be such a big star if the ship had not sunk?
Stink, stank, stunk. We went to the gym. There was this stink. We tried to figure out what/who stank? We would have had a longer workout if it had not stunk so badly. Anything to get out of a (stinking) workout.
Now, some exceptions:
Blink – to open and close the eyes. Blinked.
blank – having no marks; not filled in; an empty space; etc. Also, a great movie character with the first name Martin.
blunk – no such word
Clink – to make a light, sharp ringing sound. Clinked.
clank – a sharp hard sound
clunk – to hit hard (esp. on the head)
Fink – an informer; strikebreaker; to inform to the police; squeal). Finked.
fank – no such word
funk – cowering fear; a dejected mood; a strong smell or stench
Ink – a fluid used for writing; a dark, protective fluid; publicity. Inked.
ank – no such word
unk – no such word
Link – to join or connect; a ring or separate piece of a chain. Linked.
lank – lean, gaunt, thin
lunk – lunk(head) – a dull or stupid person; blockhead
Wink – to close and open one eye quickly; twinkle. Winked.
wank (clean slang) – a clever technique or one employing such
wunk – no such word
Sync. Synced.(… not going here except to harmonize the Palm with the PC …)
Then, there’s this stand-out …
Think – to have a conscious mind; to conceive of something; etc.). Thought.
thank – to express gratitude, appreciation, or acknowledgement to
thunk – no such word
So, who’d have thunk it? We thank you for making us think of this topic today (wink, wink) instead of wanking (clean!). It doesn’t take a lanklunk to link most nouns with their pasts, and now, it’s inked. We’ve neen in a funk (listening to funk), or we would have caught the fink who finked to the Grammar Police. We thought we heard a clank, however, it must have been the clunk on the head that made us sit up, take notice, and clink our glasses in a toast. We hope, now, we have filled in the blank(s) for you … and, guess what, we did it in the blink of an eye.