Age or Aged in Disneyland

IMG_0497I saw this sign more than once at Disneyland (consistency is good!). I thought something was wrong with it, so snapped this picture vowing to do some research and figure out if I was correct. The problem is whether it should be “age” or “aged.”
According to Gregg:
I interviewed a man aged 52 for the job. [NOT: a man age 52.]
I don’t plan to retire at the age of 65 [NOT: at age 65.]
NOTE: Elliptical references to age–for example, at age 65–should not be used except in technical writing such as human resources manuals.
See the chart on page 64 for the schedule of retirement benefits for employees who retire at age 65.
The Merriam Webster online dictionary defines “aged” as
1. a: of an advanced age <an aged man>
    b: having attained a specified age <a man aged 40 years>
2. typical of old age
Another source defines “aged” as “having reached the age of.”
So if you use those definitions with the Disney example, “Children under age 7 years must be accompanied by a person age 14 years or older,” since the chaperone will have “reached the age of” 14 or “attained a specified age” (in this case, the age of 14), I think the Disneyland signs should be changed to either “Children under the age of 7 years must be accompanied by a person aged 14 or older” or “Children under 7 must be accompanied by a person 14 or older.”
Not everyone spends time in the happiest place on earth internally deliberating the correct usage of a word, but it is something I am pretty passionate about and it didn’t cut into my “happy time.” Now I just need to figure out how to use that passion to get a proofreading job with Disney.

Grammar Giggle – It’s Crazy That The News Station Doesn’t Know Its Language Is Wrong

Once again, I had to pause the local news, watch my husband roll his eyes, and snap a picture of this jewel. This is a common mistake because it kind of defies the rules. The possessive of “it” is “its.” The contraction of “it is” is “it’s.” I get that it is confusing, but it’s a concept that can be (and should be) learned. If you are tempted to use the apostrophe, check to make sure it is correct by substituting “it is” for “it’s.” If it doesn’t make sense (and it won’t if it’s supposed to be a possessive), then don’t use the apostrophe. An example is the sentence in this post “. . . but it’s a concept that can be . . ..” You can replace the “it’s” with “it is” in that sentence so it is correct–“. . . but it is a concept that can be . . ..”



The Phenomena of the Vortices and Cacti

twisted-juniperA friend and I were recently discussing what our possibilities for recreation are for a trip to Sedona, Arizona, this summer. When I said “vortexes,” her response was “shouldn’t it be vortices?” I had never heard that word, but told her I would investigate and use it as a blog topic. So here we are.

According to the Gregg Reference Manual nouns of a foreign origin retain their foreign plurals while some now have English plurals and others have two plurals—both foreign and English. How confusing is that? When there are two plural forms, one form may be preferred to the other and you are instructed to check your dictionary to be sure of the correct plural form.

I will not quote the entire section from Gregg, but it is interesting indeed. It is in the Tribute (11th) edition starting on page 204. Here are select entries:

WORDS ENDING IN US (the asterisk indicates the preferred form)
Singular English Plural Foreign Plural
cactus cactuses cacti*
focus focuses* foci
nucleus nucleuses nuclei*
stylus styluses styli*
thesaurus thesauruses thesauri*
Singular English Plural Foreign Plural
agenda agendas
dogma dogmas* dogmata
formula formulas* formulae
vertebra vertebras vertebrae*
Singular English Plural Foreign Plural
addendum addenda
auditorium auditoriums* auditoria
consortium consortiums* consortia
curriculum vitae curricula vitae
erratum errata
maximum maximums* maxima
memorandum memorandums* memoranda
stadium stadiums* stadia
ultimatum ultimatums* ultimate
Singular English Plural Foreign Plural
crescendo crescendos* crescendo
tempo tempos tempi (in music)
Singular English Plural Foreign Plural
criterion criterions criteria*
phenomenon phenomenons phenomena*
Singular English Plural Foreign Plural
appendix appendixes* appendices
crux cruxes* cruces
index indexes (of books) indices (math symbols)
matrix matrixes matrices*
vortex vortexes vortices*
Singular English Plural Foreign Plural
analysis analyses
crisis crises
ellipsis ellipses
parenthesis parentheses
synopsis synopses
Singular English Plural Foreign Plural
Adieu adieus* adieux
Bureau bureaus* bureaux
Plateau plateaus* plateaux
Singular English Plural Foreign Plural
chaise longue chaise longues* chaises longues
hors d’oeuvre hors d’ouevres* hors d’oeuvre
maître d’ maître d’s

So did you learn anything from this taste of English and foreign pluralization of foreign nouns? I sure did! I was wrong and will forevermore refer to Sedona’s vortices correctly. Who knew?