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  1. #1
    redstone48 Guest

    Post teaspoonSful or teaspoonfulS

    Is it absolutely incorrect to use teaspoonSful or is it just not preferred?
    Although I have noticed that all of my dictionaries only mention teaspoonfuls, I have never read that use of the S after the base word teaspoon is incorrect.
    A friend suggested that when you say teaspoonsful you are breaking up the word. How is that possible when teaspoon is the baseword and s and ful are suffixes after the baseword?

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    Default Re: teaspoonSful or teaspoonfulS

    Hi , Redstone,
    One teaspoonful -3 teaspoonfuls
    Cheers

  3. #3
    MikeNewYork's Avatar
    MikeNewYork is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: teaspoonSful or teaspoonfulS

    Quote Originally Posted by redstone48 View Post
    Is it absolutely incorrect to use teaspoonSful or is it just not preferred?
    Although I have noticed that all of my dictionaries only mention teaspoonfuls, I have never read that use of the S after the base word teaspoon is incorrect.
    A friend suggested that when you say teaspoonsful you are breaking up the word. How is that possible when teaspoon is the baseword and s and ful are suffixes after the baseword?
    It is unusual to place an s in the middle of a single word. We sometimes do it with compounds that are not sealed together: attorneys general, mothers-in-law, etc.

    That said, Webster's Third accepts "teaspoonsful" and "cupsful".

    Main Entry:teaspoonful
    Pronunciation:***sp*n*f*l sometimes -p*n-
    Function:noun
    Inflected Form:plural teaspoonfuls or teaspoonsful \-n*f*lz, -nz*f*l\
    Etymology:teaspoon + -ful
    1 : as much as one teaspoon can hold : enough to fill a teaspoon
    2 : a unit of measure used especially in cookery and pharmacy equal to one level teaspoonful or 1 1/3 fluid drams

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    Thumbs up Re: teaspoonSful or teaspoonfulS

    Thanks Mike for your speedy and helpful reply!
    Best wishes,
    Ellyn- Redstone48

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    MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    Default Re: teaspoonSful or teaspoonfulS

    Quote Originally Posted by redstone48 View Post
    Thanks Mike for your speedy and helpful reply!
    Best wishes,
    Ellyn- Redstone48
    You're welcome.

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    Default Re: teaspoonSful or teaspoonfulS

    Hi Mike,
    I do have some lingering questions: why do you say that the s placed after teaspoon is in the middle of a single word? Isn't teaspoon the base word? And isn't it also a compound word? Why is it so extraordinary to have two suffixes at the end of the base ( s and ful)? Teaspoonfuls might be the preferred spelling but I don't see what is unusual about placing the s after teaspoon. Additionally, it seems that if you say teaspoons full ( as two words) you have no problem. So it appears, that it isn't how it sounds ( because teaspoons full and teaspoonsful sound exactly the same) but how it is written. Does any of this make sense?
    Ellyn - redstone48

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    Default Re: teaspoonSful or teaspoonfulS

    Hi,
    I would always say teaspoons full.

    Roobs

  8. #8
    MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    Default Re: teaspoonSful or teaspoonfulS

    Quote Originally Posted by redstone48 View Post
    Hi Mike,
    I do have some lingering questions: why do you say that the s placed after teaspoon is in the middle of a single word? Isn't teaspoon the base word? And isn't it also a compound word? Why is it so extraordinary to have two suffixes at the end of the base ( s and ful)? Teaspoonfuls might be the preferred spelling but I don't see what is unusual about placing the s after teaspoon. Additionally, it seems that if you say teaspoons full ( as two words) you have no problem. So it appears, that it isn't how it sounds ( because teaspoons full and teaspoonsful sound exactly the same) but how it is written. Does any of this make sense?
    Ellyn - redstone48
    By the definition I use for compound words, teaspoonful doesn't quite make it. For me -ful is a suffix, not a word. It would be a bit more arguable if the word were teaspoonfull. I agree that the word can be separated into "2 teaspoons full of sugar. That gives a vote for the internal s people.

    There are three kinds of compound words:

    1. two separate words, e.g. court marshall
    2. hyphenated words, e.g. mother-in-law
    3. single words, e.g. bookcase

    I said that we sometimes use an s after the first word in the first two kinds, but is very unusual in the third kind. Look at some other single-word compound words.

    bookcase
    babysitter
    sidewalk
    plowboy
    barmaid

    Would any of those be pluralized by adding an s after the first word in the compound?

  9. #9
    Gadi35 is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: teaspoonSful or teaspoonfulS

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork View Post
    There are three kinds of compound words:

    1. two separate words, e.g. court marshall
    2. hyphenated words, e.g. mother-in-law
    3. single words, e.g. bookcase

    I said that we sometimes use an s after the first word in the first two kinds, but is very unusual in the third kind. Look at some other single-word compound words.

    bookcase
    babysitter
    sidewalk
    plowboy
    barmaid

    Would any of those be pluralized by adding an s after the first word in the compound?

    I was taught that you add an "s" to the part of the word that is becoming plural. The "teaspoon"s are plural, not the "ful"s; hence, teaspoonsful. This would follow in your example. The cases are plural, not the books, so bookcases. Plural sitters makes for babysitters. It is the walk [-way] that is plural, so sidewalks. Plowboys, and barmaids also follow this example. Mothers-in-law is this way because the mothers are plural.

    I know it has been a while since this topic was visited, but I still wanted to add my thought to this topic.

  10. #10
    mykwyner is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: teaspoonSful or teaspoonfulS

    Sorry, I disagree. The teaspoons are not plural, you would use only one teaspoon to measure three teaspoonfuls of something. Even if you used three teaspoons it would still be three teaspoonfuls of something. It would take six railroad cars to deliver six carloads of coal, but nobody would say six carsload of coal. If you had to make three trips across the room to move a pile of books do you have three armsful of books (where did you get that third arm?) or three armfuls of books?

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