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Thread: Supernovae

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    #1

    Supernovae

    A quick question. Did David Butler mispronounce "supernovae" (plural) or did he actually mean "supernova" (singular). The text on screen says "supernovae", and the word is accompanied by a plural word (clusters), which would suggest both words should be plural.

    While at it, I've heard some latin-origin words with irregular plural form (e.g. "colossus"→"colossi", "nebula"→"nebulae") pronounced the same way by native speakers, whether they be singular or plural. Is that something that is common and widely accepted, or just another common mistake that should be avoided?

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    #2

    Re: Supernovae

    Quote Originally Posted by Glizdka View Post
    A quick question. Did David Butler mispronounce "supernovae" (plural)
    Yes.
    I've heard some latin-origin words with irregular plural form (e.g. "colossus"→"colossi", "nebula"→"nebulae") pronounced the same way by native speakers, whether they be singular or plural. Is that something that is common and widely accepted, or just another common mistake that should be avoided?
    Many people today might form the plurals as 'colossuses' and 'nebulas'. I don't think many would pronounce the Latin singular as the Latin plural or vice versa.

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    #3

    Re: Supernovae

    An example that I can't forget is when I was watching a Starcraft match with professional casters. Colossus is a unit in this game, one of the casters consistently kept saying "many colossus (not colossuses)", the other kept saying "many colossi". I don't watch this game very often, nor do I play it myself, so I don't think I'll be able to provide a link.

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    #4

    Re: Supernovae

    Such games are not places to go for examples of good language.

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    #5

    Re: Supernovae

    Thank you, Piscean. Everything's clear now.
    One last question: do you prefer "supernovas" or "supernovae"? Or don't you mind either?
    I've heard the word "supernova" used as a verb by David Butler (Here's what the daytime sky might look like if and when Betelgeuse ... supernovas), so I guess the distinction between the plural noun supernovae and the third person singular verb supernovas may be useful.

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    #6

    Re: Supernovae

    I'd use supernovas.
    I am not a teacher.

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