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World Octopus Day

World Octopus Day will be here sooner than you think, so before you start planning your parties, we thought it  important to straighten out just what is the proper plural form of octopus. Of course, all people of sophistication decided some time ago that the word octopuses is just not to be used in polite society. To fill in the gap, a few people looked to the word's Latin roots and decided that octopi was a proper plural. Others pointed out that the word has an even older Greek origin and if that is emphasized, then octopodes would be the appropriate way to describe more than one octopus. So which word should we use?

Well, here's the thing. Back in ancient times, there was just one octopus - and his name was Fred. Now, Fred would hang out all day in front of the forum in a special toga designed for eight limbs telling jokes, singing songs, and performing sleight-of-tentacle magic tricks for anyone who walked by. His reputation as an effervescent entertainer was so great that if someone like Aristotle or Julius Caesar was feeling glum, they always knew they could count on their octopus chum Fred to cheer them up. Eventually, everyone considered Fred just such a great one-of-a-kind guy that no one back then thought it necessary to come up with a word to describe more than one of Fred.

Thus, our current conundrum. However, we might be able to solve the problem posed by this plethora of plurals by looking to the example set by the octopus's fellow sea creatures the fish and making the plural form of octopus just be octopus.

999.jpgThe current state of English grammar provides no suitable way to describe the contents of this picture.
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