23 words and phrases with odd plural forms

These terms seemingly defy English rules of spelling.

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Ragan Insider Content

The rules of English spelling can be baffling.

Writers and editors see it daily. I recently had to check the spelling of “prerogative” because it couldn’t possibly be spelled “prerogative” (it is).

One area of spelling that is particularly challenging: finding correct plural forms. They can trip writers up, because they’re difficult to spell and difficult to pronounce.

Below are 23 tricky plurals:

1. antennae

2. asterisks

3. attorneys general

4. axes (plural of axis)

5. bases (plural of basis)

6. courts-martial

7. culs-de-sac

8. diagnoses

9. dos and don’ts

10. emphases

11. hippopotami

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