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

Fora vs Forums

According to the Oxford English Dictionary...

forum n. (pl. forums) 1) a meeting or medium for an exchange of views. 2) (pl. fora) (in an ancient Roman city) a public square or marketplace used for judicial and other business. Origin ME: from Latin, lit. what is out of doors.

But everywhere else I’ve looked, it seems that forums and fora are interchangable. I personally prefer to use the word forums, when referring to a group of workshops and meetings.

I want to argue for this at my work because the term fora is being used and I want to know if there’s more evidence that I’m actually correct, besides what the Oxford English Dictionary tells me.

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I know it's not relevant to this thread, but I like the adjective derived from forum - 'forensic', meaning 'of or pertaining to, or trained to give evidence in, a court of law'.
We tend to use it only of forensic scientists nowadays: they are scientists trained to give evidence in court. But formerly one would speak of a lawyer's 'forensic skills', meaning his skill at cross-examining witnesses. (A forum being a place of debate.)
Skeet

Skeeter Lewis May-23-2014

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@Skeeter Lewis - Thanks for that, I'd never realised that's where it came from. You can still find modern examples of it being used in the more general 'legal' sense at Google Books -

"His forensic skills helped him to a number of courtroom victories, but they left him with little sense of personal fulfillment" - D.W. Griffith's the Birth of a Nation, London Melvyn Stokes University College - 2007

This one is not so much legal as going back to idea of a/the forum - "Nixon was an effective debater, but his forensic skills were overwhelmed by the television images of a sweating, shifty—eyed politician which marked the return of the original Tricky Dick" - Presidential Upsets, Douglas J. Clouatre - 2013

And one, appropriately enough, from an account of Ancient Athens:

"His forensic skills had been tested in his litigation with Callippus and his neighbour, Nicostratus" - War, Democracy and Culture in Classical Athens, David M. Pritchard - 2010

Warsaw Will May-23-2014

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I think that even if the speaker knows the correct plural form of a word borrowed from a foreign language (including Latin), then the speaker should not use the correct foreign plural form of the word when speaking or writing English. Why disregard the rules of English grammar? I promise always to use innuendos rather than innuendi.

In fact I've never heard anyone use innuendi which I really could not say without laughing and would not be at all surprised if someone else in earshot made a sarcastic comment, probably including such derogatory terms as "tosser" and "pretentious", aimed at anyone who did use it. Not me of course. Far too polite and well brought up.

Cirsium May-24-2014

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I confess to being rather fond of the singular of scampi.....'scampo'.
Skeet

Skeeter Lewis May-24-2014

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I'm sorry to hear criteria being used in the singular instead of criterion.
Similarly, 'phenomenon',
Skeet

Skeeter Lewis May-24-2014

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In general, clearly, foreign singulars and plurals are retained when a word is newly introduced but in time the word is naturalized. Remember, vast swathes of English are foreign words that have been gradually absorbed into the mother tongue.

Skeeter Lewis May-24-2014

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Well the Latin plural of innuendo might be innuendis; but really best avoided; hints would be a better word-choice.

jayles May-24-2014

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Latin is not a dead language, it is actually the language used in the Vatican City. Language is fluid and morphs all the time, fora will become forums, stadia will become stadiums and the originals will be forgotten. Who says'refrigerator', 'perambulator' or 'influenza' any more?

Melanie Sep-10-2014

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Sorry to revive this ancient thread, but i was looking online and i think it is interesting that the 'octopodes' plural is getting some support here and there. I thought it was worth highlighting the fact that 'antipodes' follows the same declension - but here we never use the singular form 'antipous'.

alex123 Sep-10-2015

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Hi everyone!
Again, I need your help
I know that correct construction of the sentence:
"I can see how tiny we are"
But is it possible to say?

"i can see how tiny are we"
Like a statement....
Because in my situation it's better for singing, riming and flow in the song. Or it just sounds stupid?

Lenur Mar-28-2017

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While this is a discussion of Latin words in English, I'm frightened by the inclusion of a German word, Schnapps, the plural of which is not Schnappsen. Until reading this discussion, I have never seen Schnappsen anywhere (not that I'm a regular consumer of such beverages). Also Schnapps, though directly taken from German is spelled with only one 'p' in its original form. The plural in German would be Schnaepse (if you can't make the umlaut), or Schnäpse. Beyond that forums vice fora is a matter of preference though my spell check prefers the former, I the latter.

R G Kay May-04-2017

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Hi can someone please translate this for me

When the well is dry, we know the worth of water.

jan1 Aug-15-2017

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thanks
that was useful.
any way this is mobotak.com and its a company whom interested in tech and electronic gadgets.our company buy,sell and repair cell phones,tablets and computers ans so sell their accessories,if you have any questions about this kind of staff we will glad to help.
mobotak.com/Categorygrid/id/74/%D9%82%D8%A7%D8%A8%20%DA%AF%D9%88%D8%B4%DB%8C
mobotak.com/Categorygrid/id/80/%D8%A8%D8%A7%D8%AA%D8%B1%DB%8C%20%D9%85%D9%88%D8%A8%D8%A7%DB%8C%D9%84
your sincerely,

mobotak Oct-24-2017

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that was interesting
any way this is mobotak.com and its a company whom interested in tech and electronic gadgets.our company buy,sell and repair cell phones,tablets and computers ans so sell their accessories,if you have any questions about this kind of staff we will glad to help.
mobotak.com/Categorygrid/id/74/%D9%82%D8%A7%D8%A8%20%DA%AF%D9%88%D8%B4%DB%8C
mobotak.com/Categorygrid/id/80/%D8%A8%D8%A7%D8%AA%D8%B1%DB%8C%20%D9%85%D9%88%D8%A8%D8%A7%DB%8C%D9%84

mobotak Oct-24-2017

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Being wife of very wealthy tycoon, it's understandable that she's able to buy an _____assortment of diamonds.

What word best fits 'expensive' or 'extensive'?

Matthe Ware Dec-19-2017

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@Matthe Ware
It sounds like a school test! To me either would be "correct"; in fact 'extensive assortment of diamonds' comes up about a dozen times as a phrase on google, but 'expensive...' does not, if that is a good criterion.

jayles Dec-19-2017

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It's a clue from a Sunday newspaper crossword. I'm supposed to pick one that fits best even though both seem legit.

Matthe Ware Dec-19-2017

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I am amused by those who play the "we are modern English speakers, therefore forums is right and Fora is old hat and pretentious" card.

Here is a word for those people "Bullshit!" Or two words "Bovem stercore"

Why, if your modern theory is so right, do you bother to use Forums? Why not meeting places?

I heard a so called intellectual expert on the radio recently, sternly damning Latin plurals "No place for pretentious Latin plurals" he said, "aquariums, stadiums, rostrums, it is all quite correct and even preferred today" and he spluttered on. I had to chuckle, when a little later in the conversation, he used the words; data and criteria; Of course, we all know most assuredly that he meant "datums and criterums"

dracher Dec-25-2018

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indeed, but is not the real heart of the question's crossroad whether the proper Latin or modern Anglo-modified (ie) use is effective or simply correct? just considering the question to understand answers was my thought.

user107755 Mar-18-2019

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DamonTarlaei is a great example of a little knowledge being a dangerous thing. He claims to be a Latin 'scholar', yet does not know that 'octopus' is of Greek origin. The 'correct' plural, therefore, is 'octopodes'. However, 'octopusses' is generally accepted these days. The one plural that is absolutely wrong (always was, always will be wrong) is 'octopi'.

•PaulD• Mar-29-2019

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