Re: Microsoft Manual of Style

Subject: Re: Microsoft Manual of Style
From: "Parks, Beverly" <ParksB -at- EMH1 -dot- HQISEC -dot- ARMY -dot- MIL>
Date: Mon, 14 Apr 1997 15:07:47 -0700

>Greg Moore wrote:
>First let me state that I don't have a particularly strong opinion about
>the "right" answer to pluralizing "mouse". In fact, I think it's an
>interesting example precisely because the computer mouse hasn't been around
>long enough for all native speakers of English to have a firm idea of what
>sounds best in the plural. But I think eventually a "correct" form of the
>plural will gain acceptance; it just might take 10 or 20 years. This kind
>of thing happens all the time as language evolves. In baseball, for
>example, you can "fly out". In the past tense, you can say, for example,
>"He flied out to right" or "He flew out to right", but "flied out" makes it
>clear that you are talking about baseball. By the same logic, one can
>understand that some native speakers might want to avoid the irregular
>plural ("mice") and say "mouses" since that will make it clear that the
>subject is a computer mouse. I'm not saying this is correct, just that
>there is a certain logic to it that may in the end prevail (i.e., gain wide
>acceptance). In the meantime, I would just try to avoid using the term in
>the plural if possible.

But this logic only works for this particular type of example because
the word happens to have a nonstandard plural. For the logic to work,
you'd have to devise a different plural for, say, "screen" to
differentiate a computer screen from a movie screen.

As I said before, this wouldn't be an issue if the plural of the term in
question was formed in the standard way (by adding 's'). Why does
"mouse" have to have special consideration just because the plural is
formed differently? It is all still English.

The person (sorry, don't remember who) who said that it was likely just
Microsoft stating that they didn't want Microsoft Mouse (TM) referred to
as "Microsoft Mice" was probably on target, IMO. (Though I haven't seen
the style guide, so don't know the exact wording.) Maybe people are
reading a broader meaning into something that was meant to be very

>Bev Parks
>parksb -at- emh1 -dot- hqisec -dot- army -dot- mil

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