Proofreading Service - Pain in the English
Proofreading Service - Pain in the English

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Proofreading Service - Pain in the English
Proofreading Service - Pain in the English

Your Pain Is Our Pleasure

24-Hour Proofreading Service—We proofread your Google Docs or Microsoft Word files. We hate grammatical errors with passion. Learn More

Computer mouses or computer mice?

Normally, the plural of mouse is mice when you are referring to those real rodents. However, in the case of a “mouse” used for the computer, can you still use the plural form “mice”, “computer mice” if you are referring to lots of computer mouse? “Computer mouses” i guess is not proper. What do you think?

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WOW... So many arguments for such a simple discussion!
If MOUSE is an acronym for "manually-operated user-select equipment" then it has nothing to do with the animal and therefore the plural form is not MICE... it is MOUSES!

LG Jan-18-2013

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@LG - being facetious, on that basis there is no plural of MOUSE, as equipment is uncountable and has no plural. So if you want to buy one, you should really ask for a piece of MOUSE. Incidentally, some people way back near the beginning of the discussion nearly got there, but equipment is not plural, it's uncountable (or non-count).

However the idea that MOUSE is an acronym seems to have come along a decade or so after the mouse was given it's name, and the inventor really was thinking of the animal, so it's probably best just to do what the dictionaries do and accept both mice and mouses. Personally I go for mice.

Warsaw Will Jan-18-2013

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MOUSE given it's name? Oh dear, you let yourself down there. Shame! Of course the plural is mice, just as it's name should be its name.

Brus Jan-22-2013

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Hi, Brus. Back from your travels already? I could always try doing a Captain Mainwaring and say "I was wondering which of one you would be the first to spot my deliberate mistake", but I don't suppose you'd swallow that one. Let's just call it a schadenfreudian slip. My slip, your schadenfreude.

Warsaw Will Jan-22-2013

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Actually not back from travels as I am in northern Laos in a beautiful place called Vang Vieng where one chills and floats on the river and frets about nothing at all except erroneous English. No Schadenfreude here because everyone is nice and would not think of such a thing. I recommend a trip here to any stressed persons.

Brus Jan-23-2013

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The majority of electronic companies all refer to the "device in question" as mice. Check online at all the manufacturers such Apple, Dell, and HP.

IT TECH GOD May-16-2013

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Here's an even better one for you. Is it "I weedeated the yard yesterday" or "I weedate the yard yesterday?"

Wendell Vincent Aug-25-2013

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I have been proofreading this case study (a management school's) and it is about a big player in the computer peripherals. They refer to "mice" throughout the article... Well it may the author and publisher's preference really but "mice" definitely sounds very awkward... and i realize there is no final word on this yet....

Ashni Sep-13-2013

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I don't care w/c is correct! I think mice should be used for rodents and mouses for the device. ahahahah I love this topic! Just to ease boredom I stumbled to this! LOL This is a good topic for my co-teachers.

regine Oct-07-2013

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The Concise Oxford Dictionary- Tenth edition: (pl. also mouses) Computing a small hand-held device which is dragged across a flat surface to move the cursor on a computer screen, having buttons which are pressed to control computer functions.

Geme Tom Feb-10-2014

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But isn't it just more humourful, more fun indeed, to call these devices mice? Is that indeed not why we do it, regardless of the stern, possibly even puritanical views of the dictionary makers?

Brus Feb-10-2014

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@Brus -Yes, I think it is indeed. What's more, you have introduced me to a word that is new to me. A word that definitely exists, but is hard to get much information about (only one British dictionary seems to list it - Collins - and it's not a lot of help). So my (genuine) question is - .did you choose 'humourful' because it has a semantic nuance that is different from 'humorous' or because you like the sound - for the fun of it, so to speak.

Actually I may have found the answer in a book called 'The making of love' - 'For people with a reasonably confident, mutually tolerant and humourful sex life' - full of humour is not I suppose the same as being humorous (which is perhaps more jokey?). Here's one from a life of Shakespeare published in 1908, where I'm not so sure I see such a difference:

"and first taking his due lead before all other men in The Merchant of Venice, then sinking almost his history in the humourful comedies of Falstaff and the brilliant plays of the Second Period that succeeded them"

The earliest example I can find is from 1868, "Who, indeed, can understand the humourful bright soul, if the author of the Biglow Papers cannot?" (FJ Furnivall talking about Chaucer)

So I guess 'full of humour' is slightly different from 'humorous'. Incidentally, I wonder why, in British English, we keep the u in 'humourful', but drop it in humorous. Strange!

Anyway, thanks for that.

Warsaw Will Feb-10-2014

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@WW I think wot this shews is that the suffix -ful is pretty much portable almost like an inflection, provided of course the result is meaning-ful.
Looks like the spelling follows the French pattern.

jayles the ungreedy Feb-10-2014

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Re mouse/mice: a few nouns in English still use the Germanic umlaut/ablaut system to show plurals, like man/men, goose/geese, foot/feet. Mouse belongs here.
There are also a few nouns which are "weak" and take an -en for the plural - oxen,children, brethren (and dialect housen), and several animals which are unchanging - deer, sheep in modern English.
No reason to use mouses any more than hice.

jayles the ungreedy Feb-10-2014

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@jayles - as long as it means 'full of' - here's a list of 332:
http://www.morewords.com/ends-with/ful/

Warsaw Will Feb-11-2014

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Its either mouses or mice. Word Man out.

The Word Man Apr-14-2014

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It's mice for those with a sense of humour. Mouses is absurd, and what is wrong with 'mice' anyway?
'Nuff said.

Brus Apr-14-2014

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Pointing devices? :-))

user106928 Apr-14-2014

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I call them "mice" because that's what I was taught is the plural of mouse. If I think someone is going to be confused by that, I add the word computer. Well, actually the real season I prefer "mice" is because my brother-in-law says "mouses".

mcooper61 May-13-2014

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If you call them mouses, do you pronounce with the z sound as in houses, or the s sound as in scouses? Both versions sound potty, as it cries out to be mice. I like mice. They have tried to eradicate them, and get us to trail our fingers over the screen to get it to do things, and tap, and stuff, but all along mice do the tricks with a few clicks - much better.

Brus May-13-2014

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@Brus - interesting point. Like you I'm a 'mice man' (in both your senses), but when I read the comments above, I naturally thought of mouses with a soft S, and now you've got me wondering why.

At Morewords.com most words listed under *ouse are variations on house. There's spouse where you seem to have a choice between hard and soft s in the singular. The only other nouns I can find with a soft s are:

grouse - bird - plural - grouse, complaint - plural - grouses (soft s?)
house - houses (hard s)
lobscouse (whence scouse) - plural (hard or soft? - I've no idea but imagine soft)
louse - plural lice

But now I'm wondering of it's houses that's the exception (out of a total of only three, admittedly - so it hardly makes it a rule).

Warsaw Will May-16-2014

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I have no grice with those points. Or is it singular, as there is none? So I have no grouse with those points. There we go then ...

Brus May-16-2014

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The plural of house (OE hus) in OE was hus. The plural was shown by the article. Once this shifted, it pickt up a regular 's' plural.

Grouse is not found in OE. It's a borrow'd word and thus gets an 's'. The same for lobscouse.

AnWulf May-20-2014

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To those who think mouse is an acronym, it's not. They are called mouses because they look like a mouse. So I guess more than one should be mice (I prefer mouses for some obscure reason).

Akme Sep-19-2014

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After reading all above comments in a variety of different accents, we have decided to join this beautiful yet mind boggling debate.
However our hearts go out to those that believe this acronym is indeed a rodent, we assure you that the plural of a Computer Mouse, is in fact Computer Mouse's.
Yours truly,
Amy stink bomb and Lilly vanilly.
ps. Stop arking everyone Akme and AnWulf.

Lilswag and ampoo Dec-04-2014

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I now know more about computer M.O.U.S.E than I ever will really need to know. But thank you, I had the same question, I'm writing a paper for school.

Gummy Jan-15-2015

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Legal Translator: I can to have a your PIN number?

By the way I can to espeak a the English, which I learned in Madrid in '88), and I rate Spanish banking about as highly as I rate their driving.

Paul Kirkman Jan-18-2015

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The handle of a tailor's smoothing iron is a goose. The word geese is NOT acceptable as the plural. In this case the plural of goose is GOOSES. So, I vote for mouses !

Jan Michael Sauer Oct-01-2016

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First it was called a mouse because it looked like a mouse, then 'they' thought up a suitable acronym. Of course the plural, should it ever be needed, is "mice", for 'mouses' sounds plain silly. The same applies to goose-geese, and your man who says it is "not acceptable" seems, as it were, to be shooting from the hip: being authoritarian but quoting no authority and using terminology which has a whiff of political correctness about it in its dogmatism. Humourless, too. 'Gooses' is a verb, and renders uncomfortable its use in the context suggested. So I say the plural form of the noun is 'geese' as always.

Brus Oct-01-2016

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mm in not sure but i tinck it iss mouses

nethen yung Oct-11-2016

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hello, i tinck it is mousses bt in not god at enlish

nethen yung Oct-11-2016

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I think it's "computer mouses" because of the word "mouse" of PC is a word relating to device have a form of mouse not to real mouse

antoine Oct-14-2016

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Neither is just mouse as plural

My vote is "mouses" multiples of computer pointing devices.
It clearly tell the reader/listener that you're NOT talking about vermin.

When language borrows a name for a unrelated usage, we should not usurp it unique plural and tenses. If your posterior receives sudden squeeze, you been GOOSED.
Now if happens several times... have you been "Geesed"? I think not.

Rt Dec-15-2016

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The computer 'mouse' resembles the rodent, so plural 'mice' does nicely. 'Mouses' is silly, as is being 'geesed' many times, just 'goosed' many times. What is plain wrong but we hear it increasingly is 'behaviours' meaning 'forms of behaviour', and similar inventions of neologisms by forming plurals from collective nouns which don't bear pluralising. Try 'thinkings' for 'thoughts' as in 'the thinking is, the thinkings are ...' - clearly pretentious silliness meant to sound clever but having the opposite effect on the listener, this one anyway. 'Behaviours' - no! no!

Brus Dec-17-2016

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A mouse is a mouse and mice are mice - whether electronic or furry !

Felicity Leith-Ross Jan-10-2017

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I lean toward mouses for the plural. First, it grates on my nerves to refer to two or more computer mouses/mice as mice. All I can think of is real rodents. Second, a great deal of computer jargon has been invented, if you will, by computer geeks who weren't very good at English grammar or syntax--or meaning. However, the many goofy terms have become well-accepted. In keeping with that goofiness, I definitely prefer the goofiness of "mouses."

wolfwoman@ltis.net May-16-2017

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At work we use mouses seeing we have 3 just in a matter of 3 feet just for one person to use. When cleaning we will say, lift up the mouses.

christina1 Jun-10-2017

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We use the plural of the animal from which they were named. Mice is no less awkward than calling it a mouse in the first place.

SteeeveTheSteve Jul-21-2017

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Hey just a heads up, I am totally not trolling you. Looks like you have a typo on the word equipment in this article. and you also have an ad about proofreading. I'd hate for you to lose business because of the typo.

RoseHarmer Aug-14-2017

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In most countries computer 'mouse' is translated to the animal name such as 'mus' in my language. Based on this 'mice' is most correct. End of discussion. Heh.

Hurley1 Sep-26-2017

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The Oxford Dictionary of English 3rd Ed (2010) entry for mouse reads as follows: "2 (pl. mice or mouses) a small handheld device which is moved across a mat or flat surface to move the cursor on a computer screen". The world's most trusted dictionary of English accepts both mice and mouses as correct.

colin1 Dec-02-2017

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The Economist Style Guide says, with regard to plurals in general, "No rules here. The spelling ... may be decided by either practice or derivation."

colin1 Dec-02-2017

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Fowler's Modern English Usage 3rd Ed (2004) doesn't recognise "mouse" as an acronym but as a term within a new layer of words with new meanings, called "computerese". Fowler's adopts a wait and see approach.

colin1 Dec-02-2017

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Hello all,

I have just read through 12 years of comments lol. It has thoroughly entertained me.

I studied Computer Science at Uni and the lecturer advised the students that the correct term was "mouses". It could have been his own opinion though.

I wish you all the best and thank you for the lovely read.

Jelal Mar-12-2018

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Microsoft Style Guide is your friend.

mouse devices
OR
mice

robin1 Apr-20-2018

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I've always taken the stance that NEITHER is the correct answer. The plural of mouse (when referring to the computer accessory) is "mouse". As in, "I have one mouse for my desktop computer, but I bought two more mouse when I needed one for each of my traveling bags with laptops."

like 'Sheep' or 'moose' or 'fish' or many other words in English

user107426 Nov-19-2018

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I’ve compromised and used the term “meeces”.

user107709 Feb-25-2019

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@whitneygallienNO
Please spell check and fix the grammatical errors in your answer. Thank you
Technically, since "mouse" is an acronym for "manually-operated user-select equipemtn," it sound probably be pluralized as "mouses."

viper0925 Mar-10-2019

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It's funny. Even in 2019 the dictionary still hasn't decided and instead has listed both mouses and mice. LOL! Look at #4.
mouse (mous)
n. pl. mice (mīs)
1.
a. Any of numerous small rodents of the families Muridae and Cricetidae, such as the house mouse, characteristically having a pointed snout, small rounded ears, and a long naked or almost hairless tail.
b. Any of various similar or related animals, such as the jumping mouse, the vole, or the jerboa.
2. A cowardly or timid person.
3. Informal A discolored swelling under the eye caused by a blow; a black eye.
4. pl. mice or mous·es (mous′ĭz) Computers A handheld, button-activated input device that when rolled along a flat surface directs an indicator to move correspondingly about a computer screen, allowing the operator to move the indicator freely, as to select operations or manipulate text or graphics.

user107942 May-17-2019

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