Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Complete list of irregular English plurals

Continuing our irregular series of lists, you can find here all the irregular English plurals that occur in the COCA more than 5 times. It's just shy of 1,650 words, but about 20% of them are different kinds of men, women, and children (e.g., madmen, charwomen, foster-children).

Note 1: The list is unedited, but I believe I've set it so that you can edit it if you sign in with a Google account. Please feel free to remove any obvious problems.

Note 2: The list ignores any irregulars such as bass that end with s. Feel free to add.

The top 50 are listed below:
  1. children
  2. women
  3. men
  4. police
  5. feet
  6. teeth
  7. personnel
  8. criteria
  9. gentlemen
  10. cattle
  11. bacteria
  12. sox
  13. grandchildren
  14. fishermen
  15. phenomena
  16. mice
  17. clergy
  18. businessmen
  19. curricula
  20. alumni
  21. policemen
  22. freshmen
  23. stimuli
  24. geese
  25. larvae
  26. algae
  27. tsunami
  28. congressmen
  29. fungi
  30. memorabilia
  31. gunmen
  32. coli
  33. schoolchildren
  34. nuclei
  35. brethren
  36. servicemen
  37. spectra
  38. firemen
  39. sushi
  40. craftsmen
  41. countrymen
  42. linemen
  43. strata
  44. salesmen
  45. nebulae
  46. spokesmen
  47. salespeople
  48. paparazzi
  49. horsemen
  50. sportsmen


Turbo Built said...

This is a very cool list. Do you have one that has the singular and plural forms side-by-side?

Brett said...

I'm afraid I don't.

Miara S Bekho said...

Hi, could you please explain how you built this list? For a research publication I need singular and plural nouns side-by-side. I know this was posted years ago but if you're still there, please reply. Thanks!!!

Brett said...

Hi, Jerome

I began by searching the COCA for [nn2*], which gives me everything tagged as a plural noun. I posted the results into column D in the spreadsheet. Then, in column C, I used the formula: =RIGHT(D1,2). This says, "give me the rightmost two characters from cell D1". The reason it's two is that all the words have a space after them. Next, I sorted by column C. Finally, I removed all the 's' plurals. I hope that helps.