Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 20
  1. #1
    Anonymous Guest

    Default viruses vs virii

    The most commonly used version is 'viruses', but 'virii' is regarded by some as the 'proper' spelling.

    Which is correct? [and why?]

    Thanks

  2. #2
    RonBee's Avatar
    RonBee is offline Moderator
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Other
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Posts
    16,570
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    The correct spelling is viruses. That is because virus ends in s, so we add an es to form the plural. Those who contend that the plural should be virii base that on virus being from Latin. However, English is not Latin. In the case of some Latin borrowings the original plural has been retained, but that is not always the case.

    [Edited to note that Mike's answer was better than mine.]

    :)

  3. #3
    MikeNewYork's Avatar
    MikeNewYork is offline VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Academic
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    14,764
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: viruses vs virii

    Quote Originally Posted by cjmuk
    The most commonly used version is 'viruses', but 'virii' is regarded by some as the 'proper' spelling.

    Which is correct? [and why?]

    Thanks
    There are many words in English that originated in Latin and retain the Latinate pluralization. We have alumnus/alumni, alumna/alumnae, bacterium/bacteria, etc. There are others that have two acceptable plurals, Latinate and English: gymnasium/gymnasia and gymnasiums, forum/fora and forums, helix/helices and helixes, etc.

    The word virus certainly originated in Latin, but here is the problem with the "genius" who thinks that the "proper" plural is "virii". First of all, there is no reputable English dictionary that lists the word "virii". Second, and even more importantly, Latin words of a certain declension are pluralized by changing -us to -i, not -ii. Therefore, even in Latin, virus would not become "virii". Finally, while there was a word "viri" in Latin, it had nothing to do with "virus". The Latin word "virus" did not describe microorganisms. The Romans had no knowledge of such things. The Latin word "virus" meant venom, slime, stench and it had no plural. Modern scientists borrowed the word to name a certain "new" type of infectious agent. The plural of virus was then and is now "viruses". The following web site will add more information.

    http://www.perl.com/language/misc/virus.html

  4. #4
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Philippines
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    43,322
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    I didn't know that was the reason. Thanks, Mike.

  5. #5
    MikeNewYork's Avatar
    MikeNewYork is offline VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Academic
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    14,764
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by tdol
    I didn't know that was the reason. Thanks, Mike.
    You're welcome. I wonder how the original poster made out with the information.

  6. #6
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Philippines
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    43,322
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    I hope they learned your paragraph and quoted it in its entirity at the person who uses the 'correct' plural.

  7. #7
    MikeNewYork's Avatar
    MikeNewYork is offline VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Academic
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    14,764
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by tdol
    I hope they learned your paragraph and quoted it in its entirity at the person who uses the 'correct' plural.
    :wink:

  8. #8
    RonBee's Avatar
    RonBee is offline Moderator
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Other
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Posts
    16,570
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Thank you for that very thorough explanation. :D

    Can you help with this: http://www.usingenglish.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2607

    Perhaps you know what a universal statement is?

    :)

    Help ESL Learners Learn Irregular Verbs
    http://www.usingenglish.com/forum/vi...er=asc&start=0

    :)

  9. #9
    MikeNewYork's Avatar
    MikeNewYork is offline VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Academic
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    14,764
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by RonBee
    Thank you for that very thorough explanation. :D

    Can you help with this: http://www.usingenglish.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2607

    Perhaps you know what a universal statement is?

    :)

    Help ESL Learners Learn Irregular Verbs
    http://www.usingenglish.com/forum/vi...er=asc&start=0

    :)
    Sorry, I don't. My guess would be that it is some sort of "moral of the story" that applies to situations outside the book's context, but that would be just a guess.

  10. #10
    Red5 is offline Webmaster, UsingEnglish.com
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Interested in Language
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • England
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    3,392
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    It seems that some people use the term "universal statement" about part of an essay.

    http://www.brunswickschool.org/wickn...ng_process.htm

    "Conclusion

    Restate the thesis

    to bring the reader back to the main point using

    specific references. Now, make some general statements which give

    advice to all people or a recommendation which would apply in most situations. This is

    called a universal statement because it is not specific to one literary piece, person, or situation."

    http://www.narragansett.k12.ri.us/NH...itanalysis.htm
    "The conclusion is one paragraph, as well. At this point, you should step back from the specifics of your subject and relate it to the world as a whole, a universal statement, if you will; this makes your topic relevant to the reader. Remember that this is the last thing your reader will read; therefore, a restatement of your Thesis Statement, a summary of your arguments and some thoughtful reflection is vital to leave the reader with a good impression."

    http://www.colegiobolivar.edu.co/Eng...an%20Essay.htm


    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&l...ent%22+writing

    Red5
    Webmaster, UsingEnglish.com

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •