What is the optional plural form of a word that ends in “‑y”?

I guess “optional plural” is the correct term. I’m referring to things like

  • It can be found at the following location(s).
  • Please pick up your ticket(s).

But how do I do that to a word that ends in ‑y? Take category for example: “category(s)” doesn’t seem correct, because categorys is a misspelling. But everything else I have tried looks ridiculous.

What’s the correct approach here?

Answer

Words that end in Cy regularly go to -ies, while those that end in Vy regularly go to Vys (where C means a consonant and V means a vowel).

  • bunny > bunnies, telly > tellies, category > categories
  • Monday > Mondays, boy > boys, monkey > monkeys

But money > monies is irregular.

You could write

  • Please select your preferred category or categories.
  • Please select your preferred category(-ies).
  • Please select one or more categories.

Stackoverflow Content

If you have a computer program that does the equivalent of:

printf("%d %s(s) selected.\n", count, thingie);

Then you are automatically doing it wrong. A computer should know how to count. And inflect. It is pure laziness — and not the good kind, either — on the part of programmer to write

1 file(s) deleted.

That sort of thing is extremely aggravating. Please do not do it. In the specific case of having a category for a thingie, you would use

printf("%d categor%s selected.\n", count, count == 1 ? "y" : "ies");

Accept no substitutes.

In the more general case, you need an English noun inflector.

Attribution
Source : Link , Question Author : Jeremy Wiggins , Answer Author : tchrist

Leave a Comment