with Luke Taylor
Combine two nouns like pillow and case and you get pillowcase.These are pretty easy, and so are their plurals. Trouble can arise when compound nouns are constructed using a noun plus an adjective.
Combine a noun like blood with a verb like shed and you get bloodshed.
"Compound words, written with or without a hyphen, that consist of a noun followed by an adjective or other qualifying expression form their plurals by making the same change in the noun that is made when the noun stands alone."Or, to illustrate:
The attorney general held a press conference.Attorney general is a compound noun. It's constructed of a noun, attorney, and an adjective, general. Attorney is followed (and modified) by the word general. The rule states that the plural of attorney general should be formed by making the same change to the noun-attorney-that would be made if that noun were by itselfattorneys. Therefore, the plural form would be:
We had a meeting with the attorneys general of all 50 states.There are a handful of common nouns that behave this way. Fortunately few of us encounter situations when writing or speaking where it's important to remember that multiple military trials would be courts martial or that more than one naval vessel suitable for combat would be called ships of the line or men-of-war. However, terms like mothers-in-law and passersby are common enough that it's a good idea to commit them to memory.
We added one more criterion to the other criteria.Things get confusingand the English language shows its flexibilitywhen plural nouns of the same origin are treated inconsistently. Outside formal academic or scientific writing, commonly used nouns in the workplace such as agenda and data have shed their original constructions.
Shiitake mushrooms are just one delicious fungus in a world of edible fungi.
The agendas for all of the meetings are saved in this file.Because the rules for plural nouns are sometimes applied inconsistently, it's a good idea to heed the words of Gordon Jarvie, author of the Bloomsbury Grammar Guide. Jarvie writes, "The best advice to give with compound nouns ... is to check their spellings with a dictionary, to be consistent in one's own practice and to be watchful of other writers' practices."
The data in the report is incorrect.