There are always various foreign plurals that are moving towards being
English singulars. Kevin mentioned opera. Agenda is another. Media,
criteria, bacteria, and data are on their way, media rather faster than
data it seems to me.
I think that an important point is whether we would recognise the
singular. 'Opus' now means something different, and not many people
recognise it as the singular of 'opera'. 'Agendum' (which I think is the
sing of agenda, isn't it?) is not used. So opera and agenda have become
regular singulars, with plurals operas and agendas. Medium and datum are
still recognisable English nouns which can mean one of the media or an item
of data. Similarly criteria (definitely) and bacteria (probably).
I think you are right that 'die' now means something different and is not
immediately recognised as the singular of dice, so I should regard dice as
a singular. I should think that the plural also ought to be dice, as dices
I mustn't sit here pontificating. I really must get out and prune the
At 15:23 17/02/2005, you wrote:
>I know, I've rethought and agree that "graffiti are" will be better.
>Next question, does anyone think "dice" as a singular has made it into
>common usage yet? David Clarke used "dice" as a singular in his paper in
>1970 and "die" might not make the right associations with the visitor,
>especially when the object is a fragment of a parallelopiped die and
>thus not immediately recognisable.
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