In English, the plural form of words ending in -us, especially those derived from Latin, often replaces -us with -i. There are many exceptions, some because the word does not derive from Latin, and others due to custom (e.g.
, campus, plural campuses). Conversely, some non-Latin words ending in -us and Latin words that did not have their Latin plurals with -i form their English plurals with -i.
Some words' plurals end in -i even though they are not Latin, or that is not the Latin plural, e.g., octopi is sometimes used as a plural for octopus (the standard English plural is octopuses).
Prescriptivists consider these forms incorrect, but descriptivists may simply describe them as a natural evolution of language.
In Latin, most second declension masculine nouns in -us form their plural in -i. However, some Latin nouns ending in -us are not second declension (cf. Latin grammar).
For example, third declension neuter nouns such as opus and corpus have plurals opera and corpora, and fourth declension masculine and feminine nouns such as sinus and tribus have plurals sinūs and tribūs.
Some English words derive from Latin idiosyncratically.
For example, bus is a shortened form of omnibus 'for everyone', the ablative (and dative) plural of omnis, and ignoramus is a verb form, 'we do not know'.
Syllabus is a Late Latin (16th c.) word, derived from a misreading of the Greek sittybos “table of contents”; since it is not a classical word, it does not have a classical plural. 
The English plural of virus is viruses. In most speaking communities, this is non-controversial and speakers would not attempt to use the non-standard plural in –i.
However, in computer enthusiast circles in the late 20th century and early 21st, the non-standard viri form (sometimes even virii) was well attested, generally in the context of computer viruses.
 Viri is also found in some nineteenth-century sources.
While the number of users employing these non-standard plural forms of virus was always a small percentage of the English-speaking population, the variation was notable because it coincided with the growth of the web, a medium on which users of viri were over-represented.
As the distribution of Internet users shifted to be more representative of the population as a whole during the 2000s, the non-standard forms saw decline in usage.
A tendency towards prescriptivism in the computer enthusiast community, combined with the growing awareness that viri and virii are not etymologically supported plural forms, also played a part.
Nonetheless, the question of what the Latin plural of virus would have been in ancient times turns out not to be straightforward, as no plural form is attested in ancient Latin literature.
Furthermore, its status as a second declension neuter noun ending in -us and not of Greek origin obscures its morphology, making guesses about how it should have been declined difficult.
Mass noun in Latin
The Latin word vīrus (the ī indicates a long i) means “1. slimy liquid, slime; 2. poison, venom”, denoting the venom of a snake. This Latin word is probably related to the Greek ἰός (ios) meaning “venom” or “rust” and the Sanskrit word viṣam meaning “toxic, poison”.
Since vīrus in antiquity denoted something uncountable, it was a mass noun. Mass nouns pluralize only under special circumstances, hence the non-existence of plural forms in the texts.
There is no known plural for this word in Classical Latin. It is unclear how a plural might have been formed under Latin grammar in ancient times if the word had acquired a meaning requiring a plural form.
In Latin, vīrus is generally regarded as a neuter of the second declension, but neuter second declension nouns ending in -us (rather than -um) are rare enough that inferring rules is difficult.
(One of the rare attested plurals, pelage as a plural of pelagus, is borrowed from Greek, so does not give guidance for virus.) Plural neuter nouns of other declensions always end in -a (in the nominative, accusative and vocative).
In Neo-Latin, a plural form is necessary in order to express the modern concept of ‘viruses’, which lead to the following declension:
|genitive||vīrī(antique, heteroclitic: vīrus)||vīrōrum|
Treating vīrus as 2nd declension masculine
Words ending in ‘dom’
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Many words in English end with the suffix 'dom'. Learn some of these words and practise using them in a sentence.
We were reading about ethnographic studies in an academic English class this week and one of the students noticed the word ‘officialdom’ in the text.
She knew the adjective official, (meaning being related to an official body and its activities and responsibilities), and she knew the noun official (meaning a person who holds public office), but did not recognise the word 'officialdom'. Many words in English end with the suffix dom.
First, match the 9 words ending in ‘dom’ with their definition. Next, complete the sentences by choosing the correct word.
|1. officialdom||a. the state of being very famous|
|2. martyrdom||b. a country or state ruled by a monarch|
|3. boredom||c. the death or suffering of a martyr|
|4. kingdom||d. something that rarely happens|
|5. random||e. a negative description of those working in an organisation|
|6. seldom||f. the quality of having good judgement|
|7. wisdom||g. the state of feeling weary because of a lack of interest|
|8. stardom||h. the right to think, do, and say what you want|
|9. freedom||i. done without method or decision|
Complete the sentences with the correct word:
- It can be very tiring trying to battle with _________ when you want to get something done.
- The priest read a sermon about the _________ of Saint Anthony.
- _________ is something my children often complain about on long car journeys.
- We went on holiday last year to the _________ of the Netherlands.
- We chose the restaurant to go to at _________ as we didn’t know which was best.
- I _________ go to the gym as I find it very boring.
- The author’s books showed that he was full of _________ about the economy.
- Many people nowadays are keen to chase _________.
- _________ of choice is an important ideal in many countries.
|1. officialdom||e. a negative description of those working in an organisation|
|2. martyrdom||c. the death or suffering of a martyr|
|3. boredom||g. the state of feeling weary because of a lack of interest|
|4. kingdom||b. a country or a state ruled by a monarch|
|5. random||i. done without method or decision|
|6. seldom||d. something that happens rarely|
|7. wisdom||f. the quality of having good judgement|
|8. stardom||a. the state of being very famous|
|9. freedom||h. the right to think, do, and say what you want|
- It can be very tiring trying to battle with officialdom when you want to get something done.
- The priest read a sermon about the martyrdom of Saint Anthony.
- Boredom is something my children often complain about on long car journeys.
- We went on holiday last year to the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
- We chose the restaurant to go to at random as we didn’t know which was best.
- I seldom go to the gym as I find it very boring.
- The author’s books showed that he was full of wisdom about the economy.
- Many people nowadays are keen to chase stardom.
- Freedom of choice is an important ideal in many countries.
Ethnographic: relating to the scientific description of people and cultures with their customs, habits, and mutual differences.
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TOEIC Grammar Guide – Comparative and Superlative
|TOEIC | Grammar: Comparative and Superlative||Previous Up Next|
Adjectives and adverbs can be used to make comparisons. They are used to show what is different or similar about two or more things. There are three kinds of possible comparisons: equal, comparative and superlative.
Forming the comparative and superlative forms usually depends on the number of syllables in the adjective. Learn the rules for each type of adjective and adverb. Do not combine the two ways of forming comparisons in a single sentence.
An adjective or adverb is used to show that two things share a quality in the same amount. A quality shared in the same amount means that the two things are equal is some way. The form used to make this kind of comparison is as adjective / adverb as. The as as comparison is better known as a correlative conjunction.
- Adjective Examples:
- Our boss is as friendly as yours.
- Her vacation lasted as long as her boyfriends vacation.
- Adverb Examples:
- He works as efficiently as you.
- His computer can download files as fast as their computer does.
To show a difference or to show that there is only a similarity between two things, the comparative form must be used. An adjective or adverb is made into the comparative form in one of two ways. The way that is used depends on the number of syllables the adjective or adverb have:
- Most one-syllable adjectives and adverbs take the ending –er.
- Two-syllable adjectives ending in y form the comparative by taking the ending –er.
- Other two-syllable adjectives use more + regular form to make the comparative.
- Most adverbs of two or more syllables must use more + regular form to make the comparative.
- All three or more syllable adjectives must use more + regular form to make the comparative.
|Regular||Comparative||Number of Syllables|
- She is the shorter of the two sisters.
- She is shorter than her sister.
- This fax machine is newer than that one.
- The manager wants to be more popular than the previous one.
|Regular||Comparative||Number of Syllables|
- We finished our project faster than they finished theirs.
- The new copier prints pages more quickly than the old one.
- He understands the course more easily than her.
- The word than is usually used following the comparative form in a sentence.
- Note: Never mix the two ways to form the comparative.
- Incorrect: She gets lots of benefits because she's been here more longer.
- Correct: She gets lots of benefits because she's been here longer.
- Incorrect: He works more quicklier than us.
- Correct: He works more quickly than us.
If the comparison is between three or more things then the superlative form must be used. An adjective or adverb is made into the superlative form in one of two ways. The way that is used depends on the number of syllables contained in the adjective or adverb:
- Most one-syllable adjectives and adverbs take the ending –est.
- Two-syllable adjectives ending in y form the superlative by taking the ending –est.
- Other two-syllable adjectives use most + regular form to make the superlative.
- Most adverbs of two or more syllables must use most + regular form to make the superlative.
- All three or more syllable adjectives must use most + regular form to make the superlative.
|Regular||Superlative||Number of Syllables|
- This office is the most modern one in the building.
- She is the youngest employee in the company to be promoted.
- (Note: She is being compared to all other employees at the company.)
|Regular||Superlative||Number of Syllables|
- She can find files the most quickly.
- He spoke the most forcefully at the meeting.
- The word the is always used before the superlative form in a sentence.
- Note: Never mix the two ways to form the superlative.
- Incorrect: He was the most wisest man I ever knew.
- Correct: He was the wisest man I ever knew.
- Incorrect: She types the most fastest
A Big List of Adverbs
Are you looking for words that add style to your sentences? Memorizing and studying the meaning of new words on an adverb list can help improve your English skills. Adverbs, which modify verbs and adjectives, help you describe to your audience how actions are taken.
You’ll notice that the words on the adverbs lists and the conjunctive adverbs list add more detail to simple sentences. As a result, the reader or listener has a clearer understanding of the situation you’re discussing.
The words on a list of conjunctive adverbs connect two ideas. You’ll find a conjunctive adverb list toward the end of this article.
Let’s go over the types of verb modifying words and look at examples from each different adverb list. Before you begin, if you want more background information on verb modifying words, click site.
Remember that adverbs and adjectives are different but often confused. Adverbs describe how, when, where, how much, and how often. They modify verbs, adjectives, and sentences. Adjectives, on the other hand, describe nouns.
This list of adverbs page is organized so you can easily use words that spice up your writing.
Manner Adverbs List: Words Describing Action
A manner adverbs list provides words that explain how an action is done. These words modify or change the meaning of a verb in a sentence. Most come after the main verb in a sentence, although sometimes they appear before the verb.
Here’s a standard sentence without a word of manner:
To add more details explaining the manner in which Tom creates websites, we’ll add a new word to the end of the sentence in this short adverb examples list:
- Tom creates websites quickly.
- Tom creates websites reluctantly.
- Tom creates websites frantically.
As you can see, different words of manner dramatically change the action (creating websites) in each sentence. Check out the words of manner in this adverb examples list:
Place Adverbs List: Words Describing Place
A place adverbs list includes words that tell your audience where an action happens, will happen, or did happen. Use place words to answer the question, “Where?” Words of place are also called “spatial words.”
If a word expresses location, direction, distance, position, or movement, then it’s probably spatial. Let’s look at a brief adverb examples list for descriptive words:
- She ran up the stairwell.
- They can’t be far away.
- Your pen fell behind the couch.
- Travel eastward of here to arrive at my house.
Here’s a list of adverbs you can use to refer to distance and space:
Time Adverbs List: Words Describing When
When did an action happen? How often does it happen? For how long does it happen? Words in a time adverbs list can answer one of these three questions for your audience.
Here’s a short adverb examples list for words describing time:
- I’ll do my homework tomorrow.
- William has been fasting all day.
- He never eats vegetables.
In the above list, you get a little extra information. However, a sentence can include multiple time-describing adverbs and answer all three questions.
Note that the sentence should always follow a certain order when there is more than one time-describing word. The first word will describe how long an action happens. The second word explains how often it happens. The third word details when an action happens. For example:
- She babysat the Smiths’ children for three days (how long) every week (how often) last year (when).
There are many words that describe time. Here is a list of adverbs describing time that are easy to remember:
Focusing List of Adverbs
In speech, you can emphasize words to give your sentences different meanings. In writing, you’re unable to emphasize words this way.
Instead, you use words from a focusing list of adverbs to give your sentences more meaning. These words give your audience the information that is most important to know by telling them how much or to what extent.
Look at the following sentences for a few examples of this in action:
- I simply asked that he arrive on time.
- I had a great day as well.