Make Your Editor Cry: Fungus (Awkward Plural)

Make Your Editor Cry: Fungus (Awkward Plural)

BLUF: (Bottom Line Up Front)
The plural of fungus is fungi or rarely funguses.

The definition of fungus: any of a kingdom (Fungi) of saprophytic and parasitic spore-producing eukaryotic typically filamentous organisms formerly classified as plants that lack chlorophyll and include molds, rusts, mildews, smuts, mushrooms, and yeasts

The singular of fungus is fungus. The plural of fungus is fungi or less commonly funguses. You can use either, just be consistent throughout the entire text.

The noun fungus has a Latin root, which is the derivation of the plural fungi. Through common usage, funguses, which conforms to the standard rules for forming plurals, is also now acceptable. However, I would recommend only using that form in dialogue, perhaps to demonstrate a character who doesn’t know any better, and use the more formal form in narrative.

Examples:

The world depends on fungi because they are major players in the cycling of materials and energy around the world. (E O Wilson)
The discipline of biology devoted to the study of funguses is known as mycology.

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