Make Your Editor Cry: Goose (Awkward Plural)

Make Your Editor Cry: Goose (Awkward Plural)

BLUF: (Bottom Line Up Front)
The plural of goose is geese.

The definition of goose: any of numerous large waterfowl (family Anatidae) that are intermediate between the swans and ducks and have long necks, feathered lores, and reticulate tarsi

The singular of goose is goose. The plural of goose is geese. There is no alternative English plural form that conforms to the standard rules for forming the plurals of nouns in English.

The noun word “gooses” exists in the language as a jargon word used for smoothing irons used by tailors. It can also be a verb meaning that you have “goosed” someone more than once, or that you are doing something to increase the activity, speed, power, intensity, or amount of something, like sales this quarter or the speed of a vehicle. Regardless, “gooses” never relates to waterfowl.

For the birds, a single offspring of a goose is a gosling regardless of sex and two or more offspring are called goslings. The adults are delineated by sex. Note that a goose is always female. The male of the species is always a gander. Therefore, if you ever have occasion to use the cliché phrase “silly goose” it should only ever refer to a girl or woman, never a boy or man.

Examples:

For “The Gift of Stones”, I spent an afternoon chasing a flock of Canadian geese. (Jim Crace)
Geese are waterfowl belonging to the Anatidae family.

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