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Thread: plural problems

  1. #1
    balakrishnanijk is offline Member
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    Default plural problems

    What is the plural of the word "madam"? Is it "ladies"?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: plural problems

    Hi there bala, I'm not a native or a teacher, but the word "madam" is an uncountable noun, and as such does not have a plural form.

    Cheers
    Udara

  3. #3
    Anglika is offline No Longer With Us
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    Default Re: plural problems

    There is a plural madams - it is explicitly used for women who keep brothels. Avoid it in general use!

    The correct plural would be "mesdames". The word "madam" originates from the French "madame". While the final "e" has been lost, the French spelling of the plural has been retained.

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    Default Re: plural problems

    Hi Anglika,
    Please correct me if I'm wrong, but , are the words "madam" & "madame" not two different words? The word "madam" doesn't have a plural form whereas "madame" does.

    Cheers
    Udara

  5. #5
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    Barb_D is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: plural problems

    Hello Urdara,
    "Madam" is a countable noun. As Anglika said, "madams" would refer to women who ran houses of prostitution.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: plural problems

    Hi there
    Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary says "madam" is an uncountable noun. So is it wrong then Barb?

    Cheers
    Udara

  7. #7
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    Default Re: plural problems

    Perhaps Cambridge isn't thinking about brothels.

    Regardless, if you were speaking to more than one woman and you said "Madam" and thought you were addressing all of them, you would be mistaken.

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