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hobos or hoboes?

GUEST,trews 11 Jul 14 - 07:24 AM
bubblyrat 11 Jul 14 - 07:34 AM
GUEST, topsie 11 Jul 14 - 07:46 AM
GUEST,trews 11 Jul 14 - 08:16 AM
GUEST, topsie 11 Jul 14 - 08:21 AM
G-Force 11 Jul 14 - 08:35 AM
GUEST,leeneia 11 Jul 14 - 09:05 AM
PHJim 11 Jul 14 - 12:01 PM
MGM·Lion 11 Jul 14 - 01:25 PM
Joe_F 11 Jul 14 - 04:02 PM
PHJim 12 Jul 14 - 01:39 AM
GUEST,Gerry 12 Jul 14 - 03:32 AM
GUEST,Grishka 12 Jul 14 - 05:29 AM
GUEST,geordielad 12 Jul 14 - 07:01 AM
Steve Gardham 12 Jul 14 - 08:56 AM
PHJim 12 Jul 14 - 11:52 AM
GUEST,Grishka 12 Jul 14 - 02:06 PM
GUEST,henryp 13 Jul 14 - 01:08 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 13 Jul 14 - 01:23 PM
Lighter 13 Jul 14 - 03:56 PM
Lighter 13 Jul 14 - 03:57 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 13 Jul 14 - 09:03 PM
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Subject: hobos or hoboes?
From: GUEST,trews
Date: 11 Jul 14 - 07:24 AM

is there a definitive spelling of the plural? Is the "e" optional?
It's for a song I'm writing.


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Subject: RE: hobos or hoboes?
From: bubblyrat
Date: 11 Jul 14 - 07:34 AM

Logic would suggest that , whilst the plural of "oboe " is "oboes" , then the plural of "hobo" SHOULD be "hobos" although here in England it is somewhat academic as we call them "tramps" !!


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Subject: RE: hobos or hoboes?
From: GUEST, topsie
Date: 11 Jul 14 - 07:46 AM

As it's an American word I looked in Merriam-Webster's online dictionary - they say:

plural hoboes also hobos

Not sure that helps much.


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Subject: RE: hobos or hoboes?
From: GUEST,trews
Date: 11 Jul 14 - 08:16 AM

thanks - so I can spell it any way I like!


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Subject: RE: hobos or hoboes?
From: GUEST, topsie
Date: 11 Jul 14 - 08:21 AM

Yes, but you should be consistent. Choose your spelling and stick to it throughout the song/letter/essay/book you are working on at the time.


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Subject: RE: hobos or hoboes?
From: G-Force
Date: 11 Jul 14 - 08:35 AM

When I was at school I was taught: 'Negroes would be heroes to play banjoes with potatoes and dominoes with cargoes of tomatoes'.

They are the only -o ending words which add -es in the plural. All others just add -s.

So it's hobos for me.


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Subject: RE: hobos or hoboes?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 11 Jul 14 - 09:05 AM

I was taught that an English word gets the -es, but a foreign word gets the -s.

potatoes, but
scherzos

However, we borrow so many foreign words and get accustomed to them that after a while it's hard to tell what's foreign.

No doubt 'potato' itself came from some foreign tongue.

(I would use hobos because it's simpler.)


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Subject: RE: hobos or hoboes?
From: PHJim
Date: 11 Jul 14 - 12:01 PM

I always use "hobos" and "banjos", and Spell-Check agrees with me.   Spell-Check also agrees with "hoboes" and "banjoes", but it won't accept "banjers".


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Subject: RE: hobos or hoboes?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 11 Jul 14 - 01:25 PM

Just to confuse things, leeneia ---

SCHERZI?

~M~


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Subject: RE: hobos or hoboes?
From: Joe_F
Date: 11 Jul 14 - 04:02 PM

Fowler, in _Modern English Usage_ s.v. -o(e)s, discusses the question at some length. Complete consistency is impossible by now: "potatoes" would look weird without the e, and "photos" would look weird with one. He lists eight tendencies, of which the first, "Words used as freely in the plural as in the singular usually have _-oes_", seems to speak for "hoboes", tho Fowler does not mention that example.


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Subject: RE: hobos or hoboes?
From: PHJim
Date: 12 Jul 14 - 01:39 AM

Well I guess that means that the plural of banjo is "banjos". It seems that a group with more than one banjo would have one too many. Some would say that one is too many. My wife would say that I have about 4 or 5 too many.


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Subject: RE: hobos or hoboes?
From: GUEST,Gerry
Date: 12 Jul 14 - 03:32 AM

Ask Dan Quayle, he's the expert. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dan_Quayle#.22Potatoe.22


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Subject: RE: hobos or hoboes?
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 12 Jul 14 - 05:29 AM

Grammar books and Internet sites refrain from pronouncing any abstract criterion. The idea, for example on oxforddictionaries, seems to be "-os unless in a list of exceptions (considered closed for the future)". The list seems to stem from usage by authoritative writers, thus contains words that have been in common English usage for more than a century. Other words have been added by perceived analogy, often questionable (see here for a list intended for word games).

Obviously the original rationale was to prevent a pronunciation like "-oss". For example, "heros", thus pronounced, refers to the notion as held in ancient Greece.

Whenever a dictionary says "X or Y", writers are left alone with the problem. Not all spellings are really stylistically equivalent. From the above we may guess that "-oes" generally signals a more conservative (or learned, or British, or snobbish) style, but that may well be mistaken.

The method I use (not being a native speaker) is the following: I google the spelling in question, always in quotes, together with other word I expect to appear in texts of the desired style. In this case, I googled

"hobos" song

which obtained a large majority over the "-oes" spelling. However, I cannot see that texts containing "hoboes" have a marked conservative (or learned, or British, or snobbish) tendency in their contents.


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Subject: RE: hobos or hoboes?
From: GUEST,geordielad
Date: 12 Jul 14 - 07:01 AM

Bliddy hell man, jist say "her-bers" like me. That'll dee the trick!


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Subject: RE: hobos or hoboes?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 12 Jul 14 - 08:56 AM

I try to avoid the 'oes' unless it is a word I know usually has it such as 'does' 'goes'. As an English teacher for 32 years this is the policy I have always followed with such alternative spellings.


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Subject: RE: hobos or hoboes?
From: PHJim
Date: 12 Jul 14 - 11:52 AM

GUEST,Grishka, I hope you're not implying that conservative, learned, British and snobbish are synonyms.


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Subject: RE: hobos or hoboes?
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 12 Jul 14 - 02:06 PM

PHJim, I half expected that remark. Of course, I did my best to avoid that implication, but indeed, those notions are sometimes perceived as related, particularly from the point of view of progressive, uneducated, American anti-snobs (or should that be "counter-snobs"?) - those who tend to glorify hobos.

The truth is of course much more confusing, both in history and in practical use of English. Learned British snobs sometimes sneer at American usage until someone proves that Shakespeare ...


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Subject: RE: hobos or hoboes?
From: GUEST,henryp
Date: 13 Jul 14 - 01:08 PM

I've usually considered Fowler to be descriptive rather than prescriptive, but opinions differ. A little more from Fowler Revised Third Edition by Burchfield;

Hobo. Pl. hobos. See -O(E)S

-O(E)S

At one time or another we are all in difficulties with the plural of words which in the singular end in -o.

1. Words used as freely in the plural as in the singular, and are completely naturalized as English words, usually have -oes, though there are very few invariable examples.

Recommendations for the majority of these are given at their alphabetical place in the present book.


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Subject: RE: hobos or hoboes?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 13 Jul 14 - 01:23 PM

Doesn't anyone own a good dictionary any more?

Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary
The Concise Oxford Dictionary.

I own and use the Oxford English Dictionary (20 volumes, some supplements).
I may subscribe to the online "premium" content version.


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Subject: RE: hobos or hoboes?
From: Lighter
Date: 13 Jul 14 - 03:56 PM

Remember when Dan Quayle tried to spell "potato"?


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Subject: RE: hobos or hoboes?
From: Lighter
Date: 13 Jul 14 - 03:57 PM

He was correcting a small child who had already spelled it properly on the blackboard.


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Subject: RE: hobos or hoboes?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 13 Jul 14 - 09:03 PM

I remember potato as pronounced by the French in Maine- It sounded like po-day-do.


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