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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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It's called a mouse, I suppose because it reminds us of one. It looks similar to one, but, it is only a nickname. Actually, it is a computer input device so it could just as well be called a 'cid'. The plural of computer mouse can be either mice or mouses because it is only a nickname and therefore the plural is undefined. I prefer mouses. My nickname is Butch and if in the company of another nicknamed Butch I would prefer Butchs' to the alternative.

user108019 Jun-18-2019

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

user107709 Feb-25-2019

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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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Microsoft Style Guide is your friend.

mouse devices
OR
mice

robin1 Apr-20-2018

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

Felicity Leith-Ross Jan-10-2017

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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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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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Neither is just mouse as plural

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

nethen yung Oct-11-2016

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mm in not sure but i tinck it iss mouses

nethen yung Oct-11-2016

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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@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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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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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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Pointing devices? :-))

user106928 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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Its either mouses or mice. Word Man out.

The Word Man Apr-14-2014

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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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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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@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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@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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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@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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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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Backronyms give me geesepimple.

Robbert Forbes MacGregor Dec-23-2012

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I had this question in a computer test about 20 years ago. M.O.U.S.E actually stands for "M.ovement O.riented U.ser S.ignal E.quipment and because the original non wireless device looks like a mouse with a tail. I think it was born in Xerox labs in Palo Alto way before Microsoft Windows.

BiBostin Dec-20-2012

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It is "mouses". Has been official ever since Compute Magazine did a reader survey and ruled on it back in the mid 80's.

WayneMV Nov-11-2012

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I have my doubts on what PimpleMaze said, in my country we speak spanish, and we dont say, " Quiero comprar un ratón". We say, "Quiero comprar un Mouse" (Quiero comprar un... = I want to buy a... in spanish) but i don't know, the creators didn't made a plural form for it, so we can be creative with it I think. Give me three of those mouse things.

PUOST01 Oct-08-2012

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If you put the word 'computer' in front of it then everyone will know what you mean. Just sayin'...

schlim01 Sep-28-2012

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I prefer to say/write "mouses". It sounds better to me than computer mice. Let rodents be rodents and distinguish it. I sometimes have two computer mouses on my table, but they just stand still on their place, they don´t have eyes, legs and I'm sure they don´t run across my table all the time (without my interference). They aren´t afraid of me, as well (or at least I hope so :D) so there´s no reason for me to call them like animals.

computer "mouses" [+1 Vote]

kohout Aug-16-2012

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In Dutch: muis - muizen
In German: maus - Mäuse
In Spanish: ratón - ratones
In Portuguese: rato - ratos
In French: souris - souris

Can't we just keep it simple and do
mouse - mice
in English?

PimpleMaze Jul-03-2012

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Someone said earlier that mouse is an acronym for "Manually Operated User Selection Equipment". This is wrong. That is a backronym: a fictitious acronym made up after the fact. Those of us who were there when this all happened know it is called a mouse because it vaguely resembles one.

Donald May-22-2012

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I worked with a Tech guy awhile, and we prefer calling them "mice," after the Rodent. We don't call them computer mice, just Mice. but hey, this topic is long enough to where it's become more of a rant.

Theseus12 Apr-27-2012

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Mongeese is noted so often that maybe it should be thought of as alternativ plural! However, Google NGrams show that mongooses still heavily outnumbers mongeese in usage but, hey, mongeese doesn't hurt my ears.

AnWulf Feb-17-2012

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Yes AnWulf, but the man in the pet shop didn't know that because you were not there to tell him.

Brus Feb-16-2012

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The word mongoose comes from Marathi maṅgūs. The anglicized spelling has nothing to do with its plural form and, as is normal for most outlander words, it was given the regularized English 's' plural form.

AnWulf Feb-16-2012

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mouse - mice. computer mouse - computer mice. goose - geese. mongoose - ?

Did you hear about the man who wanted two, and didn't know what to ask for at the pet shop? He thought about it, worked it out, went in and said "I want to buy a mongoose. And another one."

Yes, really!

Brus Feb-15-2012

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It's been that way since Old English:
mus > mys ... mouse > mice
lus > lys ... louse > lice
hus > hus ... plural for hus in OE was betokened by make the article plural. Once the article became fixed and no longer showed gender and number, then house was regularized by adding an 's'.

AnWulf Feb-14-2012

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Why does it have to be so illogical?

mouse : mice :: house : hice ??

mouses is just very logical to me.

some Feb-13-2012

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Is 'pointing devices' another term for fingers?

jeljms Feb-10-2012

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it's rather unfortunate that,Douglas is no more.anyway,if Douglas named the device after the living creature 'mouse',he never gave a plural form of the device and so it'll remain that way.the only mention name that i'll go by is 'mouse devices' as the plural of the computer mouse.i think it's a matter of preferance,be it mice,mouses,meeses or mooses because not any one of them is said to be wrong.

andani Dec-08-2011

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How about "pointing devices"?

user106928 Dec-01-2011

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"...when has definition ever affected pluralization?" As well as the "exocentric" compounds already mentioned, here's another example of a different kind: index in the sense of a serial number (e.g. in a formula or indexed table) has the plural 'indices', but books have alphabetical 'indexes' at the end.
Bringing the Google vote up to date, its now Mice 43,000,000; Mouses 8,070,000; Mouse devices 98,600 and (my favourite till today) Mouse units a mere 1,290. So I guess I'll use mouses in speech (while it's still plausible), but in formal writing I'll have to change from mouse units to mouse devices. Definitely out, though, is Mouse pointers, which is used to mean Cursors.

Cadfryn Dec-01-2011

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I think it would sound gramatically incorrect to refer two of these devices as mouses. Lets not worry about the etymology of the term. Dont you see it really look like a real mouse...therefore, mice when two or more.

Everisto Oct-25-2011

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Dear sir I would like to purchase two computer mouses . . . . mice . . . mmmm...
Dear sir, I would like to order a computer mouse.

PS. Make that two!

Pete1 Oct-05-2011

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I am a student in the OIT department for my university and I had to put several mouses, mice, meeses, myse, mousen away today and that's what brought me here... geeks are awesome! great debate! ( I thought mouses sounded right due to walkman/ walkmans but I wasn't sure-now I am REALLY not sure- Microsoft or Oxford Dictionary)

joanna Aug-19-2011

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Throwing my vote into the hat with mouses. Some lady corrected me today, all condescending, "I think you mean MICE." I wanted to argue with her, but wasn't completely sure I was right. Apparently there's no consensus, but at the very least it seems mouses is an accepted form (and seems to have the majority in this thread).

I've always said mouses and I'm standing by it.

justin2 Jul-20-2011

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hello, i belive the answer to this question is mouses, i do not believe mice is appropriate in this context, thank you for your time and consideration.. love you all, sincerley, mouses

vicky k Jul-08-2011

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Official ruling? Do we have a National Academy as they do for Spanish?

AnotherTry Jun-10-2011

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I agree with Red. If there is yet no "official" plural, then "mouses" would avoid confusion.

Steve George Mar-08-2011

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I have to toss in with the 'mouses' group.

Talking about the 'mice' in the building just might bring down the wrath of the Health Department. And that just results in RATS on the premises.

Red1 Mar-07-2011

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Well, on a lighter note, since we - non-feline folk - can't decide it, shan't we call in a real cat to tell us what's what? At least a cat would be able to tell where his mouse is buttered -- I beg your pardon, how his MICE are plural(ised)!

adelekefakoya Mar-05-2011

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Actually I read somewhere that computers refer to them as mouses and not mice at all, I think the computer would know

wolffighterx Dec-17-2010

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It is mouses. I've read from several sources, including PC Gamer, PC Maximum, online sources, as well as television programs that all say "Computer Mouses" is the official pronunciation, while "mice" is acceptable. I personally have always said mouses, as well have many of my friends and family members. I leave on this:
MOUSES +1 VOTE

mdangeli01 Dec-09-2010

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"Unless of course they are the sort of people who do not approve of prepositions at the end of sentences, when we do well to ignore them" --Stevens

This sort of rule monger-er seems to me the majority of those posting messages on this board. Of course the particular rule you mention is now disgraced, but there are plenty of others. Also, such people are hard to ignore as they are often in powerful positions.

fmerton Dec-02-2010

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It's not a problem for the Irish as they pronounce house as hice so mouse would be mice

bcdmul Dec-02-2010

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If you are doing a test, "correct" is what your teacher says is correct. Otherwise it is not a very useful word in the context of a living language.

There is no official grammar of English, and no academy or central authority to tell us what is correct or not, so usage reigns.

With newish terms, when there is not enough experience to establish some sort of convention (or standard), the best we can do is make a guess at what our audience will most approve of.

Unless of course they are the sort of people who do not approve of prepositions at the end of sentences, when we do well to ignore them.

rmensies Nov-30-2010

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If we can survive with, "one sheep, two sheep," why can't we live with "one mouse, two mouse."

fmerton Nov-29-2010

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MICE!!

chrisbolton20 Nov-09-2010

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MOUSES!

poop Nov-09-2010

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It used to be common among hackers (in the MIT sense) to pluralize things using the (normally non-productive) suffix -en (as in oxen). Thus, the correct plural for (computer) mouse is undoubtedly...mousen!

peter3 Jul-10-2010

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One sheep, two sheep, three sheep (yawn);

The plural of 'mouse' devices is also mouse (i've just decided); so its...

One mouse, two mouse, three mouse, three blind mouse

ewdark Jun-12-2010

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New Oxford American Dictionary, 2nd Edition. © 2005 by Oxford University Press:

(pl. also mouses) Computing a small hand-held device that is dragged across a flat surface to move the cursor on a computer screen, typically having buttons that are pressed to control computer functions

I guess it's OK if we distinguish the rodents and devices grammatically :)

mykhailo May-19-2009

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Mouses...mice...mices....we all know what we mean right?

pauline.kay9 May-19-2009

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I think people should respect academic issues for the value they add to our society. Making comments that don't edify anyone - even the writer! - is, to say the least, like clouds and wind without rain.

projectenglish May-08-2009

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For those of you running Windows XP (possibly other operating systems, too), if you go to "device manager" you will find that your mouse is listed under "Mice and other pointing devices". I guess that means that Microsoft prefers "mice".

porsche Mar-07-2009

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i think its a very interesting topic. The views of Whitey are very informative and i took this on board while trying to search for my solution. After hours of deliberation and a thesis conducted by myself last year i came up with the following conclusion:

does it matter much? u know what i mean what eva i say, thats what language is for!

though most people agreed from my surveys that it was mousification units!

sleep better!

dan Mar-06-2009

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I am a nobber.

Weeza_Cardose Dec-19-2008

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I sleep with a pillow under ym gun.
Fuck yo' mouses...

Chuck_Norris Dec-19-2008

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it's mouses, the pope told me so.

bob_dillon Dec-19-2008

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NIGGA STOLE MY BIKE!

Whitey Nov-20-2008

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No, People, I am the father of modern technology!

Darth_Vader Nov-20-2008

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