Why does the 3rd-person of verbs that end in -y follow the rule for plural nouns instead of verbs?

I don’t understand why the 3rd-person of verbs that end in -y such as cry, try, or fly follow the rule for pluralizing nouns like fly. Why do they become cries, tries, and flies instead of crys, trys, and flys? This makes no sense because we are not talking about plurals, or even nouns. Plus, … Read more

Pluralization of names

If I were to use the sentence “There are lots of John Smiths” in the world, would that be the correct use for saying that there are a lot of people named John Smith in the world? I don’t think there should be an apostrophe as that would imply ownership of something. If my first … Read more

Past tense of ‘to output’: output or outputted?

According to Wikipedia, the past tense (and past participle) of the verb to output is either output or outputted. Are these two forms entirely interchangeable? Or do they have certain nuance in meaning or context (e.g. in programming one of the forms is preferred)? Instead of correct results, my program output/outputted garbage. Which one should … Read more

Are the verbs that are conjugated to end in “-n” in the past participle related?

There are many words that in English are conjugated in the past participle to end in “-n”: grow goes to grown, sew goes to sewn, throw goes to thrown, etc.. I’m guessing it was probably the regular ending in English in some long-past time. But as every growing child knows, the more common form has … Read more

Words that are pluralized in the middle?

This is purely a curiosity, but I’m fascinated by mid-word pluralization, even if the word in question is a compound word. For example, passersby or standersby. No others have occurred to me. Can you provide other examples, or a link to a resource that enumerates them? I’m particularly interested in compounds that do not include … Read more

Family name pluralization

When pluralizing family (last) names that also happen to be common English words, does the pluralization follow the same rules as the common word? For example, “the Smith family” can be pluralized as “the Smiths”, but what if the family name is “Wolf” or “Fish”? Would the correct pluralization be “the Wolfs” or “the Wolves”? … Read more