What Happens to Those Who Never Hear?
James C. Denison
A friend recently sent me an essay titled “Ode to Plurals.” It goes like this.
We’ll begin with a box, and the plural is boxes; but the plural of ox becomes oxen, not oxes. One fowl is a goose, and two are called geese, yet the plural of moose should never be meese.
If I speak of my foot and show you my feet, and I give you a boot, would a pair be called beet? If one is a tooth and a whole set are teeth, why shouldn’t the plural of booth be called beeth? We speak of a brother and also of brethren, but though we say mother, we never say methren.
There is no egg in eggplant, no ham in hamburger, and neither apple nor pine in pineapple. Boxing rings are square, and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig. And if teachers taught, why didn’t preachers praught?
We recite at a play and play at a recital. We ship by truck but send cargo by ship. We have noses that run and feet that smell. We park in a driveway and drive in a parkway. Your house burns up as it burns down; you fill in a form by filling it out; an alarm goes off by going on. If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? And if Father is Pop, how come Mother’s not Mop?