Bowie in plectra and Latin plural endings

Joe Black created this amazing portrait of David Bowie using 8,510 individually placed guitar plectrums. This was to celebrate Sky News naming David Bowie the most influential British artist of the past 50 years for his ability to transcend music, film and fashion.

Interestingly (to me anyway), words like forum, referendum, curriculum can take s or a in the plural. S is more common (referendums), but I find an a ending – referenda – more elegant, probably because I studied Latin for six years. Sweden officially uses an s ending though, so I have to use the elegant form on my own time, and not at work.

Here are som more Latin plural endings of um words

Words ending in um, plural -a or -ums

  • addendum: addenda or addendums
  • agendum: agenda or agendums (agenda is almost invariably used in place of the singular form, and agendums is rare)
  • aquarium: aquariums or aquaria
  • atrium: atria or atriums
  • bacterium: bacteria
  • candelabrum: candelabra or candelabrums
  • corrigendum: corrigenda
  • curriculum: curricula or curriculums
  • datum: data or datums (data is often used as a mass noun, taking a singular verb and being substituted by a singular pronoun)
  • erratum: errata
  • gymnasium: gymnasiums or gymnasia
  • maximum: maxima or maximums
  • medium: mediums or media (media is the correct alternative to refer to forms of expression or information or in biological contexts)
  • memorandum: memorandums or memoranda
  • millennium: millennia or millenniums
  • minimum: minima or minimums
  • moratorium: moratoriums or moratoria
  • podium: podiums or podia
  • referendum: referenda or referendums
  • spectrum: spectra or spectrums
  • stratum: strata
  • symposium: symposiums or symposia

Author: Janet Carr

Fashion, beauty and animal loving language consultant from South Africa living in Stockholm, Sweden.

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