The March issue of English Today includes the latest feature article from our project in which I discuss the options English has to refer to more than one ‘octopus’ as well as a usage rhyme written on this specific topic.
Four of the main points addressed in the article A Fuss about the Octopus are:
- What do usage guide authors advise regarding the plural of ‘octopus’?
- According to three corpora, what plural appears to be used by people most often? Which plural would you use?
- Do you think that rhymes about usage can be a useful memory aid?
- Do you know any rhymes about usage?
Check out the English Today feature on this blog to find some answers to these questions. Also, feel free to share your ideas and personal answers to the questions I pose here in the comments below.
Note: you can read the full article on the English Today page of this website, or if you have access, download the original pdf from the website Cambridge Journals Online.
In German we do have so called ‘Eselsbrücken’ to help us remember specific spelling conventions or the correct case for example. One I remember is this one: Wer nämlich mit ‘h’ schreibt, ist dämlich. It highlights the similar spelling of the words nämlich (namely) and dämlich (silly/stupid) without an ‘h’. A literal translation would be: Those who write namely (nämlich) with ‘h’ are stupid (dämlich).
There are quite a few in German according to Wikipedia: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liste_von_Merkspr%C3%BCchen (German entry)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_mnemonics (English entry).