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What's the PL. form of ' phenomenon' ?
thank youOriginally Posted by Ouisch
Is it acceptable to say "phenomenons"? Some dictionaries list that form as and alternative.
What does PL. mean here actually?Originally Posted by *sharon*
"PL" would mean "plural".
It's traditional to use the original Latin or (in this case) Greek plural endings for many similar words, but increasingly they are being regularized with the English "-s" ending. If the dictionary lists "-s" as an acceptable alternative you can use it, but purists may not like it.
There are a few words where the plural ending you choose changes the meaning. One of these is the word "referendum". The usual meaning is the process by which the population gets to vote on a particular question, such as "Should this country join the International Federation of Sock-Exporting Nations?". Then the plural is "referendums" because in this sense, the Latin word has no plural. The other meaning is the question on the ballot paper, and then the plural is "referenda".
A few years ago, there was a referendum in Northern Ireland and a referendum in the Irish Republic on the same day and on the same topic; and in each case there were two questions on the ballot papers. Thus there were two referendums, each with two referenda.
Most people don't know this distinction, though, and they also don't know the second meaning of "referendum", so you'll see lots of confusion with this word. It's probably better to say "question" instead of "referendum" for the second meaning.
Are there singular for the plural words?If there are what are they?Originally Posted by rewboss
I'm not sure what you mean. "Referendum" is the singular, "referendums" and "referenda" are plural.
I would say it isn't actually. 'Phenomena' is a well-established plural. 'Phenomenons' simply sounds wrong to me, and I am no purist.Originally Posted by dihen
You're right. 'Phenomenons' is only acceptable for one of its meanings.Originally Posted by Coffa