For your inner copy editor

by Esther Schindler

I'm so glad that I don't have to cover the Don Imus brouhaha. Not because I would have to have an opinion on the subject, but because I couldn't bear to contemplate the correct nominative plural of "ho." Should it be hos? ho's? hoes? I don't know, and, happily, I don't need to know.


I did not even know what the Don Imus brouhaha is. :-)

Volker Weber, 2007-04-11

They're asking the wrong question. ;-)

The singular is ho'.

Richard Schwartz, 2007-04-11

Actually, their advice to simply google it isn't that helpful with such short words, which may also occur as an abbreviation. Many of the top hits when searching for "hos" (even when limited to english sites) are related to the term by abbreviations. That kind of distorts the result, I guess. Despite the notion that masses making a mistake, doesn't make it correct. Of course, one could again argue, that language is alive and the masses form it. And whooops, all the sudden we are in the middle of a discussion already. So I'll leave it at that...

Ragnar Schierholz, 2007-04-11

Merriam-Webster lists "hos" and "hoes" as valid plurals and what Merriam-Webster says is always the truth. =) However, the correct plural doesn't make Don Imus' statement any better either. =(

Philipp Sury, 2007-04-11

Would that none of us had to contemplate that. The post was somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but it is a legitimate stylistic matter for journalists and journalist/bloggers.

As I noted in my blog post, stuff in the media these days is more surreal than fiction, and the modern news cycle keeps spinning out evidence of that, no matter if you're critiquing it from a conservative, liberal, or a strictly apolitical perspective.

Thanks again for the link.

Ken Shepherd
Managing Editor

Ken Shepherd, 2007-04-11

In the immortal words of Rhett Butler, "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn."

I mean in the great scheme of things, why does something as trite as this deserve such worldwide attention. There are so, so many far more important issues to consider than one small-minded, racist, sexist, bigoted and hopefully soon-to-be-forgotten-by-history American's comments about a womens basketball team.

Chris Hudson, 2007-04-12

Chris, that is not the point here. We are trying to find the proper nominative plural.

Volker Weber, 2007-04-12

CBS fires racism row radio host.

Next time there is an innocent language question to deliberate, I hope the sites referenced could be less questionable - and be more in the spirit of the other postings on this site...

Frans Swarte, 2007-04-13

Old archive pages

I explain difficult concepts in simple ways. For free, and for money. Clue procurement and bullshit detection.


Paypal vowe