According to William Safire, what is
the plural of the phrase Poet
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According to Safire: "The best way to
make a compound noun plural is to add the s to
the most important part" - i.e. the noun part. For example,
attorneys general and courts martial.
Feedback to feedback on pluralizing compunds with
non-nouns: an example might be the ready-mades of Marcel
Duchamps in referring to his "Fountain" (urinal) and other Dadaist sculptural
objects. Would one ever add the s to other than the end of the compound?
slundgren at &warnerpacific.edu
Here's an example where Safire's
narrowly circumscribed rule doesn't quite work: When I was growing up (way
before the World Wrestling Federation), we used to watch
10-man, over-the-top-rope battle-royals. Now, despite
battle being the noun there, I defy you to tell me that
battles-royal is the correct plural form. It seems that
when you're talking about correctness, the social register has to be a
consideration: Battles royal is much too fastidious for this
register of English.
jacko at &lycos.com
Laureate is an adjective whereas
Poet is a noun. The simplest rule is: pluralise the
owen * at &* jollywebs.com
prescriptivist's point of view, Safire is right, but from a descriptivists'
viewpoint..well, I don't know. The fact that adjectives so rarely follow the
nouns they modify in English makes it feel more "psychologically" correct to
place the "s" at the end of these noun phrases (i.e. court
In fact, when we
use these adjectives I suspect most of us aren't very conscious of the fact
that they are adjectives at all. On the other hand, phrases like
mothers-in-law feel completely natural because of the normal
jacko& at &&lycos.com
Since we don't have more than one, when
if ever would we use the term in the plural? Oh, I guess if we said that there
have been X number of poets laureate in America.
thelmaz at hal pc.org
True, except as it relates to titles of
books. For instance the title Book of Mormon should not be
changed to "Books of Mormon" or "Book of Mormons" when speaking about multiple
copies. It should be stated, "Copies of the 'Book of Mormon'."
sgish00 at &0hotmail.com
Generally, in a compound of a noun and
an adjective, you pluralize the noun. Are there any cases of a compound noun
composed of one or more non-nouns?
[Mootguy: Don't know. Anybody else
Stevan_White at & hotmail.com
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