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Formulae or formulas, that's the question (poll)
Message #1 Posted by Walter B on 13 June 2012, 1:05 p.m.

The subject says it almost all. What's the correct plural to be used in a (scientific) calculator manual? TIA for enlightenment :-)

      
Re: Formulae or formulas, that's the question (poll)
Message #2 Posted by Dave Shaffer (Arizona) on 13 June 2012, 1:17 p.m.,
in response to message #1 by Walter B

Wikipedia and this reference suggest formulae for scientific discussions. I guess a scientific calculator would qualify.

            
Re: Formulae or formulas, that's the question (poll)
Message #3 Posted by Kiyoshi Akima on 13 June 2012, 1:31 p.m.,
in response to message #2 by Dave Shaffer (Arizona)

Similarly, insects have antennae while radios have antennas. And, in my experience, houses may have mice while computers may have mouses.

Such a fun language. Maybe even more so than RPN.

                  
Re: Formulae or formulas, that's the question (poll)
Message #4 Posted by ngel Martin on 13 June 2012, 1:47 p.m.,
in response to message #3 by Kiyoshi Akima

Quote:
Such a fun language. Maybe even more so than RPN.

And definitely *much* more so than RPL ';-)

Sorry I couldn't resist.

                        
Re: Formulae or formulas, that's the question (poll)
Message #5 Posted by Kiyoshi Akima on 13 June 2012, 3:50 p.m.,
in response to message #4 by ngel Martin

Quote:
And definitely *much* more so than RPL ';-) Sorry I couldn't resist.
I deliberately said "RPN" when I made my comparison. RPL is SO much more fun. It provides so many ways of doing the same thing that it makes the number of different ways of forming English plurals look absolutely minuscule (dare I say singular?).

Though in another sense I will agree with you. Going to the park to play is more fun than going to the office to work. But when it comes time to pay the bills, which do you do?

I know I'm in the minority here, but my RPN programming is now limited strictly to entertainment, such as cramming all 64 disks of the Towers of Hanoi into an HP-67. When I need results on a calculator, which I admit is not all that frequent, I do it in RPL or SysRPL.

Sorry I couldn't resist.

                  
Re: Formulae or formulas, that's the question (poll)
Message #6 Posted by Massimo Gnerucci (Italy) on 13 June 2012, 3:22 p.m.,
in response to message #3 by Kiyoshi Akima

Quote:
And, in my experience, houses may have mice while computers may have mouses.

Actually houses have mouses and hice have mice... :p

                        
Re: Formulae or formulas, that's the question (poll)
Message #7 Posted by Kiyoshi Akima on 13 June 2012, 4:00 p.m.,
in response to message #6 by Massimo Gnerucci (Italy)

Quote:
Actually houses have mouses and hice have mice... :p

I was going to say houses have mice and hice have mouses, but desisted.

house/houses, mouse/mice, grouse,grouse. goose/geese, moose/moose. tooth/teeth, booth,booths. foot/feet, boot/boots.

Things like this make me glad for my native language, which doesn't change nouns because of number. And please don't get me started on nouns having gender. Though I'd be grateful if some German speaker can explain why their word for "girl" isn't feminine...

                              
Re: Formulae or formulas, that's the question (poll)
Message #8 Posted by Oliver Unter Ecker on 13 June 2012, 4:32 p.m.,
in response to message #7 by Kiyoshi Akima

Quote:
Things like this make me glad for my native language, which doesn't change nouns because of number.
Wait. The one that uses 4 different scripts? And a glyph count far exceeding 26, and needs gymnastics for typing on a computer? ;-)

Quote:
Though I'd be grateful if some German speaker can explain why their word for "girl" isn't feminine...

Actually, there is an explanation:

While the gender of a noun stands in no definable connection to what it is, and thereby no one gender can be "explained", there actually is an explanation for this particular case:

Mdchen (girl) is using the diminutive, which, as a rule, assumes the neuter gender. Yes, at first glance it seem conspicuous that, in contrast, "Junge" (boy) is masculine and has the "proper" gender. But, the word "Jungchen" (diminutive of boy) is neuter, too.

So, the real question becomes: why do girls get the diminutive treatment, when boys don't? Is the language being sexist? The answer, of course, is that this is a case of chivalrous preferential treatment, explained by the fact that girls are made of sugar and spice and all things nice. (Feminists (female) and some divorcees (male) may not agree.)

I enjoyed your responses above. Thank you for teaching me a couple of plurals. I wondered on occasion what the plural of moose is...

Edited: 13 June 2012, 7:15 p.m. after one or more responses were posted

                                    
Re: Formulae or formulas, that's the question (poll)
Message #9 Posted by Kiyoshi Akima on 13 June 2012, 4:57 p.m.,
in response to message #8 by Oliver Unter Ecker

Danke. I didn't even know there was such a word as Jungchen. (Or maybe I did learn it in school but forgot in the third of a century since then).

Getting even further off topic, English collectives can be even more fun than plurals. For example, what's a group of birds? If it's pigeons then it's a flock. If it's geese then it's a gaggle. If it's crows then it's a murder.

                                          
Re: Formulae or formulas, that's the question (poll)
Message #10 Posted by Oliver Unter Ecker on 13 June 2012, 5:06 p.m.,
in response to message #9 by Kiyoshi Akima

Quote:
If it's geese then it's a gaggle. If it's crows then it's a murder.

Supreme! What a learning day! (thanks)

                                                
Re: Formulae or formulas, that's the question (poll)
Message #11 Posted by BruceH on 14 June 2012, 6:55 p.m.,
in response to message #10 by Oliver Unter Ecker

http://www.amazon.com/An-Exaltation-Larks-Ultimate-Edition/dp/0140170960

                                          
Re: Formulae or formulas, that's the question (poll)
Message #12 Posted by Les Wright on 13 June 2012, 6:23 p.m.,
in response to message #9 by Kiyoshi Akima

Quote:
If it's crows then it's a murder.

If it's missing a crow or two it's an attempted murder.

                                          
Re: Formulae or formulas, that's the question (poll)
Message #13 Posted by Paul Guertin on 13 June 2012, 8:06 p.m.,
in response to message #9 by Kiyoshi Akima

Quote:
Getting even further off topic, English collectives can be even more fun than plurals. For example, what's a group of birds? If it's pigeons then it's a flock. If it's geese then it's a gaggle. If it's crows then it's a murder.

Japanese has a similar feature: the "counting suffixes" that you append to numbers when you want to count things.

Counting books? Issatsu, nisatsu, sansatsu...

Counting cars? Ichidai, nidai, sandai...

Counting people? Hitori, futari, sannin...

Large animals and small animals are counted differently. Small, flat objects do not use the same suffix as thin, long ones.

And there are dozens upon dozens of obscure counting suffixes that are fun to learn and use.

                                                
Re: Formulae or formulas, that's the question (poll)
Message #14 Posted by Walter B on 16 June 2012, 1:42 p.m.,
in response to message #13 by Paul Guertin

Quote:
Japanese has a similar feature: the "counting suffixes" that you append to numbers when you want to count things.

Counting books? Issatsu, nisatsu, sansatsu...

Counting cars? Ichidai, nidai, sandai...

Counting people? Hitori, futari, sannin...

Large animals and small animals are counted differently. Small, flat objects do not use the same suffix as thin, long ones.

And there are dozens upon dozens of obscure counting suffixes that are fun to learn and use.


Chinese has a similar structure.

Counting books? Y ben(3) shu(1), r ben shu, san(1) ben shu, ...

Counting cars? Y ling q che(1), r ling qche, san ling qche, ...

Counting people nowadays? Y ge rn, liang(3) ge rn, san ge rn, ...

And many many counting suffixes for whatever else :-)

                                    
Re: Formulae or formulas, that's the question (poll)
Message #15 Posted by Luiz C. Vieira (Brazil) on 16 June 2012, 12:02 p.m.,
in response to message #8 by Oliver Unter Ecker

Hallo, Oliver.

And thank you for the interesting facts you've shared about 'deutsch'.

I have another fact I'd like to point out: third person pronouns, plural form in German. Although 'sie' is the singular form for 'she' - female -, 'sie' is also the plural form for 'er', 'sie' and 'es' (could it be consider neutral?) or the formal treatment pronoun for both male and female when written with capital 'S'.

Please, let me know if this is correct. I hope my memory got the actual facts, I did not consult anything but my own memories to write these down.

Cheers.

Luiz (Brazil)

Edited: 16 June 2012, 12:07 p.m.

                                          
Re: Formulae or formulas, that's the question (poll)
Message #16 Posted by Walter B on 16 June 2012, 1:05 p.m.,
in response to message #15 by Luiz C. Vieira (Brazil)

Ol Luiz,

I can confirm everything you wrote in this post. The word "sie" is the common plural of our three personal pronouns, while "Sie" corresponds approximately to your "Vocs" and is used for both singular and plural. And yes, "es" translates to "it" though English lost that third gender many years ago.

Cumprimentos,
Walter

Edited: 16 June 2012, 1:07 p.m.

      
Re: Formulae or formulas, that's the question (poll)
Message #17 Posted by HAL9000 on 13 June 2012, 1:53 p.m.,
in response to message #1 by Walter B

According with the IEEE Computer Society Style Guide it is "Formulas" and not "Formulae". Regards, HAL

            
Re: Formulae or formulas, that's the question (poll)
Message #18 Posted by Jeff O. on 13 June 2012, 3:35 p.m.,
in response to message #17 by HAL9000

How's our AE-35 unit doing?

                  
Re: Formulae or formulas, that's the question (poll)
Message #19 Posted by HAL9000 on 13 June 2012, 3:49 p.m.,
in response to message #18 by Jeff O.

Not good.... its going to go 100 percent failure within 72 hours. Thanks for asking (just don't leave the ship).

                        
Re: Formulae or formulas, that's the question (poll)
Message #20 Posted by Jeff O. on 13 June 2012, 8:27 p.m.,
in response to message #19 by HAL9000

I would pay real money to get Douglas Rain's voice on my GPS (and talking smart phone if I ever get one.)

            
Re: Formulae or formulas, that's the question (poll)
Message #21 Posted by Les Wright on 13 June 2012, 6:29 p.m.,
in response to message #17 by HAL9000

Quote:
According with the IEEE Computer Society Style Guide it is "Formulas" and not "Formulae". Regards, HAL

Makes sense. Despite the word "international" in the name, IEEE is largely an American organization--founded in the US by mostly Americans, most of the membership is American, its publications are out of the US--and as such would presumably opt for the American practice.

                  
Re: Formulae or formulas, that's the question (poll)
Message #22 Posted by Jeff O. on 13 June 2012, 8:50 p.m.,
in response to message #21 by Les Wright

IEEE stands for "Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers", no "international" in the name. As for membership, the web site states that IEEE has "more than 400,000 members in more than 160 countries; more than 50 percent of whom are from outside the United States." The organization promotes international membership and participation. Also exclusively uses SI units in its publications.

Edited: 13 June 2012, 9:17 p.m.

                        
Re: Formulae or formulas, that's the question (poll)
Message #23 Posted by Les Wright on 14 June 2012, 1:08 p.m.,
in response to message #22 by Jeff O.

Quote:
IEEE stands for "Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers", no "international" in the name. As for membership, the web site states that IEEE has "more than 400,000 members in more than 160 countries; more than 50 percent of whom are from outside the United States." The organization promotes international membership and participation. Also exclusively uses SI units in its publications.

Eeek! My mistake in the name. Brain flatulence. Sometimes reading doesn't mean absorbing :(

And my Googling evidently led me to dated info that advised that membership favoured Americans by a slight majority.

Though there is a certain quaint romance to the old Imperial and US systems of weights and measures (how many chains in a furlong? quick!), I was raised on SI and have long been relieved by its base-10 simplicity. Though a misplaced zero can get one in mischief, as parents familiar with Curious George know!

      
Re: Formulae or formulas, that's the question (poll)
Message #24 Posted by Ethan Conner on 13 June 2012, 2:05 p.m.,
in response to message #1 by Walter B

Formulae sounds too much like an original Newton manuscript instead of a modern calculator manual.

            
Re: Formulae or formulas, that's the question (poll)
Message #25 Posted by ngel Martin on 13 June 2012, 2:42 p.m.,
in response to message #24 by Ethan Conner

It's just the latin influence, the plural form for the noun.

So what about Archaeology, Encyclopaedia... and all those three vowels words?

Edited: 13 June 2012, 2:44 p.m.

                  
Re: Formulae or formulas, that's the question (poll)
Message #26 Posted by Ethan Conner on 13 June 2012, 3:05 p.m.,
in response to message #25 by ngel Martin

My dictionary doesn't have the three vowel spelling. I am sure they were derived from that though.

      
Re: Formulae or formulas, that's the question (poll)
Message #27 Posted by Les Wright on 13 June 2012, 6:18 p.m.,
in response to message #1 by Walter B

I am surprised that in this already long thread that no one has noted that there is more than one variety of standard English, depending where one is in the world. I attribute this in part to the blinders of Americocentrism--allow me a clever neologism--in a group dedicated to the discussion of quintessentially American products.

Someone mentioned that words like "archaeology", "gynaecology", "haematology", "aesthetics", "paeon", etc., aren't in his dictionary. Now if we set it aside the fact that static paper dictionaries don't determine the "correct" use of a dynamic language, of course he wouldn't see these spellings in an American dictionary (like, say, the Merriam-Webster) dedicated to only American spelling, meanings, and usage. He would definitely find them in the mother of all dictionaries, the Oxford English Dictionary, as the preferred British English spellings. (The OED would likely also include American on other variant spellings too, but its hugeness and scope offer that. Anybody here with access to an institutional subscription of the online OED may correct me.)

Other varieties of English tend to be interesting hybrids. In Canada, a high school student who writes "color", "honor", "center", "neighbor", or "behavior" in a research paper is (at least I hope!) going to be docked marks for incorrect spelling. However, we still prefer "criticize" over "criticise" and "apologize" to "apologise", and when I was younger I used to like to sit on the curb and enjoy a smoke rather than sit on the kerb for a fag. I wear running shoes, not trainers, when I exercise, and when travelling (not traveling) I carry my suitcase in the trunk, not my valise in the boot.

As a Canadian, I tend to prefer and regard as correct standard British usage when in doubt (it makes the most sense historically), except in those (many) cases where borrowings from American English have long been standard. This means that certain first declension Latin words like "formula" and "alumna" always take "-ae" in the plural, not the standard English -s. (That said, "partner", "party", "impact", and "trend" will never be verbs to me, even if they have passed that way into standard English all over the world.)

I extend this preference to Latin words of other declensions, too. For example, I peruse and post to numerous internet fora, not forums, and I am always careful to say in scientific discourse "these data show..."--never, ever, "this data shows..."

As for the word in question, I would say that "formulae" is the way to go in UK, Canadian, Australian, and New Zealander versions of manuals, and American manuals would likely stick with "formulas". Frankly, if I saw "behavior" and "formulae" on the same page of a "Printed in the USA" calculator manual, I would take the latter as an error, or, at best, some editorial inconsistency and laxity.

This notion of "formulae" being preferred only in scientific contexts is new to me. I am a Canadian of British descent, so I just say and write "formulae" all the time. I tend not to rely on Wikipedia (or, as I like to call it, Wikipaedia) as the last word on matters of language usage, or anything else for that matter.

As an admittedly tangential aside, I like to remind people that the correct plural of "octopus" is always "octopuses", never "octopi", no matter which variety of English one speaks and writes. "Octopus" is from the Greek, and is not a second declension masculine Latin noun that takes -i in the plural, like "alumnus/alumni". Making the plural in the Greek way is "octopodes". And only a pompous twat would ever say that.

Edited: 13 June 2012, 9:00 p.m. after one or more responses were posted

            
Re: Formulae or formulas, that's the question (poll)
Message #28 Posted by Kiyoshi Akima on 13 June 2012, 6:48 p.m.,
in response to message #27 by Les Wright

Good points. Do you change a tyre on a lorry, or a tire on a truck?

Then there's the verb "table" which means the opposite thing in the US from the rest of the English-speaking world. As Shaw said, the Americans and the British are two peoples separated by a common language.

                  
Re: Formulae or formulas, that's the question (poll)
Message #29 Posted by Les Wright on 13 June 2012, 7:06 p.m.,
in response to message #28 by Kiyoshi Akima

Tires on trucks in Canada.

My understanding is that automotive, transportation, and many nautical terms in Canadian English have long preferred American usage for ease of communication in the historically very high levels of transnational commerce. Canada and the US have long been one another's largest trading partners (a fact ubiquitously known in Canada, not so much in the US), so you could imagine the chaos that could ensue if a lorry of petrol was transformed into a tanker truck of gasoline just because it drove from Manitoba to Minnesota!

That said, when in a particularly Anglophilic mood I will load up my fuel efficient and environmentally friendly little vehicle with its quarterly dose petrol while humming Rule Britannia or God Save the Queen. Even those close to me deem my affectations to be something of a pain in the ass. Of course, I prefer to be a pain in the arse.

                        
Re: Formulae or formulas, that's the question (poll)
Message #30 Posted by Palmer O. Hanson, Jr. on 13 June 2012, 11:11 p.m.,
in response to message #29 by Les Wright

Quote:
So you could imagine the chaos that could ensue if a lorry of petrol was transformed into a tanker truck of gasoline just because it drove from Manitoba to Minnesota!
How about dollars? Are you old enough to remember when the U.S. and Canadian dollars were of approximately equal value, say back in the 1950's and 1960's. The instability of international exchange rates was such that sometimes the Canadian dollar was worth more than the U.S. dollar, and vice versa. Some of the people at the Minnesota-Manitoba border, say in Grand Forks, Minnesota and Winnipeg, Manitoba, who did frequent business with each other operated on the principle that the dollars were equal and took the others dollars at face value. That was particularly true in the resort business.

As to formulae and formulas, I simply don't care. I do care when newspapers use homophones interchangeably because their text checkers are really spelling checkers not context checkers. But, acquaintances tell me to stop being such a fuss-budget unless I really can't understand what was meant. Sometimes it's hard work being an old fogie in a brave new world.

                              
Re: Formulae or formulas, that's the question (poll)
Message #31 Posted by Eric Rechlin on 13 June 2012, 11:41 p.m.,
in response to message #30 by Palmer O. Hanson, Jr.

Grand Forks is in North Dakota.

Eric

                                    
Re: grand forks, mn
Message #32 Posted by Mike Reed on 14 June 2012, 11:03 a.m.,
in response to message #31 by Eric Rechlin

Eric; you are correct, but also incorrect: there IS an East Grand Forks, Minnesota (MN 56721)!!

                                    
Re: Formulae or formulas, that's the question (poll)
Message #33 Posted by William L. Drylie on 16 June 2012, 10:55 a.m.,
in response to message #31 by Eric Rechlin

Hi; I miss Grand Forks. Lived in Fargo for 19 years, replaced steam piping on the campus of UND, the job was long and got to see a lot of that area. Also worked at the Beet Plant over in East Grand Forks Mn. not as nice. Driving home on I 25, could always tell when you were getting close to Hillsboro because of the smelly Beet Plant there. Really enjoyed working at the Power Houses out west, Bismarck was much nicer and always tried to work there on the outages. Coal Creek power house was my favorite. I live in North Carolina now, ironically Hillsborough, I miss North Dakota, but not the snow.

                              
Re: Formulae or formulas, that's the question (poll)
Message #34 Posted by Les Wright on 14 June 2012, 3:00 a.m.,
in response to message #30 by Palmer O. Hanson, Jr.

I'm old enough. In my lifetime the exchange rate has roamed all over the place--roughly par in my childhood, as indeed it is today, on occasion the Canadian worth a bit more than the US, all the way down to what I think is an all-time low of about 62 US cents in January 2002. That means that not only was it one massive headache and pretty inhospitable for Canadians to travel into the hypervigilant post-9/11 US, it was pretty expensive too. When the dollar is roughly par or better as it is today, it is a good time to travel to the US, since consumer goods tend to be cheaper and there is little or no sales tax compared to the Canadian experience. My personal favourite is the cheap gasoline. My local service station was selling tonight at CAD1.26/L, roughly USD4.75/USgal. Americans practically threaten to riot if the price of gasoline approaches $4 a gallon, yet much of the rest of the industrialized world pays considerably more than that, and has for ages. The dreaded four dollar gallon is roughly equivalent to the one dollar litre here in Canada. I really can't remember when the price was that low here. This is particularly boggling when you consider that much of the gasoline consumed in the US is produced in Canada.

                              
Re: Formulae or formulas, that's the question (poll)
Message #35 Posted by Les Wright on 14 June 2012, 3:22 a.m.,
in response to message #30 by Palmer O. Hanson, Jr.

Quote:
I do care when newspapers use homophones interchangeably because their text checkers are really spelling checkers not context checkers. But, acquaintances tell me to stop being such a fuss-budget unless I really can't understand what was meant. Sometimes it's hard work being an old fogie in a brave new world.

The formulas/formulae thing is a matter of style and preference. When in Rome. Brits will tend to go for the Latinate spelling. The IEEE wants the other option. Both are correct depending on the publication, intended audience, etc.

But even in a fluid, dynamic, organic language, there are still some things that are just plain wrong in New York or Mobile or Christchurch or Edinburgh. The infamous "your" instead of "you're" is always wrong, wrong, wrong. I don't mind the error itself--I make homophonic substitution errors all the time that I have to fix in editing. What I do mind is the indignation that many people--and not just flippant young people, but highly educated middle-aged people who should know better--express when the error is pointed out. The common retort I have gotten is "This is Facebook, man, not an English essay, so get a life, man!", or something to that effect. The cynic in me speculates that some people intentionally dumb down their writing in order to fit into online written dialogue that is stereotypically of abominable quality. Many a smart kid learns to drop off the bullies' radar by toning it down. Perhaps in social media as well?

As a lot of young women in her day did, my mother in the 50s attended a commercial high school to prepare to enter the work force as an office worker. She was taught that one's written language in correspondence and the like reflected on oneself and one's employer. She has no formal schooling past high school, yet has impeccable written English that puts many of today's university graduates to shame.

It is one thing to quibble over formulas vs. formulae or struggle, as I do, with which/that, who/whom, or may/might. But your/you're, their/there/they're, and it's/its are governed by right and wrong whether in the newspaper, high literature, or informal online writing. I don't think you're a fogie at all. I try to get my homophones right even in the most casual online writing. I'd rather been mistaken for a snob than an idiot.

Edited: 14 June 2012, 3:24 a.m.

                                    
Re: Formulae or formulas, that's the question (poll)
Message #36 Posted by David Tellet on 14 June 2012, 9:41 a.m.,
in response to message #35 by Les Wright

Hear, here!

Sorry, couldn't resist.

      
Re: Formulae or formulas, that's the question (poll)
Message #37 Posted by Paul Dale on 13 June 2012, 7:14 p.m.,
in response to message #1 by Walter B

I'd use formulae almost always.

- Pauli

            
Re: Formulae or formulas, that's the question (poll)
Message #38 Posted by Paul Dale on 13 June 2012, 7:16 p.m.,
in response to message #37 by Paul Dale

Or even better formul.

- Pauli

                  
Re: Formulae or formulas, that's the question (poll)
Message #39 Posted by Walter B on 14 June 2012, 12:52 a.m.,
in response to message #38 by Paul Dale

Quote:
Or even better formul.
:-) That's Danish Latin to me.
                        
Re: Formulae or formulas, that's the question (poll)
Message #40 Posted by Paul Dale on 14 June 2012, 1:43 a.m.,
in response to message #39 by Walter B

If it is good enough for the Oxford English Dictionary, I think I can live with it.

Pl. formul, -as

No mention of the formulae there :-)

- Pauli

      
Re: Formulae or formulas, that's the question (poll)
Message #41 Posted by Etienne Victoria on 13 June 2012, 2:59 p.m.,
in response to message #1 by Walter B

I see...you want to check the possible scenarii...or scenarios :-)

Good luck!

Etienne

            
Re: Formulae or formulas, that's the question (poll)
Message #42 Posted by Bart (UK) on 13 June 2012, 8:10 p.m.,
in response to message #41 by Etienne Victoria

Quote:
scenarii
The only time I have ever seen this word used in English was in a specification document from a German aircraft manufacturer. Which also insisted their tyres would tire.
            
Re: Formulae or formulas, that's the question (poll)
Message #43 Posted by Les Wright on 13 June 2012, 8:58 p.m.,
in response to message #41 by Etienne Victoria

"Scenario" isn't Latin, it's Italian, and in the Italian plural the terminal i is not doubled.

There isn't even a classical Latin word "scenarius", though this word shows up in Late Latin as the ancestor to the Italian.

Nouns in -ius straight out of Latin are another matter. I think that "radii" is much more common than "radiuses", but this is a word confined almost exclusively to scientific or technical use.

Funnily enough, I can't seem to think right now of any other English nouns in -ius... Long day.

                  
Re: Formulae or formulas, that's the question (poll)
Message #44 Posted by Dave Shaffer (Arizona) on 13 June 2012, 10:45 p.m.,
in response to message #43 by Les Wright

Quote:
Funnily enough, I can't seem to think right now of any other English nouns in -ius... Long day.

I'm not sure if it's the "ius" part or just the "us" part, in which case there is (are?!) alumnus and alumni. (Unless you are female, in which case you are an alumna or an alumnae - as we have been discussing!)

                        
Re: Formulae or formulas, that's the question (poll)
Message #45 Posted by Les Wright on 14 June 2012, 3:35 a.m.,
in response to message #44 by Dave Shaffer (Arizona)

No, I was specifically trying to come up with -ius English nouns in addition to "radius". There are a few examples of -us nouns from second declension masculine Latin nouns, like "alumnus" as you mention.

Curiously, "status" is NOT one. The Latin "status" is actually a fourth declension noun that forms its plural differently. We never say "stati" in English, an they didn't in Latin either. The Latin plural is "status" with a long u. In English we just say "statuses".

Edited: 14 June 2012, 3:35 a.m.

                  
Re: Formulae or formulas, that's the question (poll)
Message #46 Posted by Palmer O. Hanson, Jr. on 14 June 2012, 11:09 p.m.,
in response to message #43 by Les Wright

Quote:
Funnily enough, I can't seem to think right now of any other English nouns in -ius... Long day.
Try genius where the three dictionaries at my home all show both genii and geniuses as the plural forms; however, the genii form is restricted to definitions from Roman mythology or Mohammedan folklore. All other definitions use geniuses as the plural form.

Celsius? Cornelius?

Or you can try the dog star Sirius. Would multiple dog stars be Serii or Seriuses? I don't know. I don't think I care.

                        
Re: Formulae or formulas, that's the question (poll)
Message #47 Posted by Gerson W. Barbosa on 15 June 2012, 12:25 a.m.,
in response to message #46 by Palmer O. Hanson, Jr.

I've just found gluteus medius, plural glutei medii, at http://www.merriam-webster.com.

Quote:
Or you can try the dog star Sirius.

Is it really a serious star? :-)

                              
Re: Formulae or formulas, that's the question (poll)
Message #48 Posted by Palmer O. Hanson, Jr. on 15 June 2012, 11:23 p.m.,
in response to message #47 by Gerson W. Barbosa

Quote:
Is it really a serious star? :-)
My Encyclopaedia Britannica says "Sirius is the brightest star in the constellation Canis Major; it is also visually the brightest star in the heavens." Furthermore, Sirius was one of the first binary stars to be recognized as such. So, I would say that

Sirius is a seriously, serious star.

                                    
Re: Formulae or formulas, that's the question (poll)
Message #49 Posted by Walter B on 16 June 2012, 12:12 a.m.,
in response to message #48 by Palmer O. Hanson, Jr.

Fortunately, we know now that Seriuses (see above) wasn't anything serious ;-)

      
Re: Formulae or formulas, that's the question (poll)
Message #50 Posted by Bart (UK) on 13 June 2012, 8:24 p.m.,
in response to message #1 by Walter B

Doesn't really bother me. Language evolves. I have always viewed "data" like "sand", i.e. a singular collection, thus "the data is", however, it is just as acceptable to say "the data are". So why argue. That which is totally acceptable today may seem absurd tomorrow. Language is not static.

As author you have the right to make whatever literary judgement you want. I'd say the only sensible thing to remember is to be consistent throughout.

      
Re: Formulae or formulas, that's the question (poll)
Message #51 Posted by Calum Tait on 13 June 2012, 9:02 p.m.,
in response to message #1 by Walter B

Formulae.

      
Equation
Message #52 Posted by Maximilian Hohmann on 14 June 2012, 2:58 a.m.,
in response to message #1 by Walter B

Hello!

Quote:
What's the correct plural to be used in a (scientific) calculator manual?

Back in the days when I did some some scientific work my peers made me replace all instances of the word "formula" with "equation" ("Formel"-"Gleichung" in german). Enginneers and physicists use equations they told me, Harry Potter and the Wizard of Oz use formulae/-s. People involved in chemsitry maybe also and Bernie Ecclestone of course. Therefore I never had to wonder about the plural of formula :-)

Regars, Max

            
Re: Equation
Message #53 Posted by Walter B on 14 June 2012, 5:47 a.m.,
in response to message #52 by Maximilian Hohmann

Hallo Max,

That's a very nice escape. Though I'm afraid we can't use it everywhere in such a manual since we deal with RPN - no equals! ;-/

                  
Re: Equation
Message #54 Posted by Ethan Conner on 14 June 2012, 10:55 a.m.,
in response to message #53 by Walter B

I looked in the HP15c manual to try and find some examples. On page 47 the word formula is used. On page 54 the term linear equation is used. You could use either word depending on the context of the situation. I'm sure there are more examples but don't feel it would be expedient to list them all. HTH

            
Re: Equation
Message #55 Posted by Peter Murphy (Livermore) on 14 June 2012, 11:17 a.m.,
in response to message #52 by Maximilian Hohmann

Consider the difference between the quadratic equation and the quadratic formula: the latter is a recipe, the former just an equality.

As to formulas vs formulae, consult an applicable style guide. If there is none, consult an applicable dictionary (e.g., the OED in the UK, Merriam-Webster in the USA). If that's inconvenient, google on the alternatives ("formulas" gets 66.1 million hits, "formulas 11.3 million).

Now back to HP calculators, please!

                  
Re: Equation
Message #56 Posted by Walter B on 15 June 2012, 2:15 a.m.,
in response to message #55 by Peter Murphy (Livermore)

Quote:
Consider the difference between the quadratic equation and the quadratic formula: the latter is a recipe, the former just an equality.

As to formulas vs formulae, consult an applicable style guide. If there is none, consult an applicable dictionary (e.g., the OED in the UK, Merriam-Webster in the USA). If that's inconvenient, google on the alternatives ("formulas" gets 66.1 million hits, "formulae" 11.3 million).


The latter is called the "yellow press method": billions of flies eat shit - they can't be wrong. ;-) Anyway, I decided to circumvent the problem, getting rid of mentioning multiple expressions of formula type explicitly.

Thanks to everybody who contributed! It became a very interesting thread :-)

      
Re: Formulae or formulas, that's the question (poll)
Message #57 Posted by William L. Drylie on 16 June 2012, 11:16 a.m.,
in response to message #1 by Walter B

Hi all; This is interesting, as I was in on a discussion about the usage of these two words at an Educational conference at Duke University last month. Apparently, according to a Professor of English at Duke, the word Formulae is used primarily as the heading of a table of Formulae in a book, or as a book title, or as a general term for Formulae cited in a paper. If the author of a paper citing the book of Formulae or a specific table, chooses several Formulae to write about, the reference then becomes formulas there after in the paper. I took it in like context to the AWS designation of Weldor and Welder the former being the person and the latter the machine. I did ask, was the usage here in the United States only or world wide, and she said it was supposed to be world wide. This all was in reference to a review of a High School text book which apparently used the word formulas throughout and she was miffed about it.


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