Plural of Fungus

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The plural of fungus is fungi or funguses.

The Plural of Fungus

The plural of fungus is fungi or funguses.
  • The world depends on fungi because they are major players in the cycling of materials and energy around the world. (E O Wilson)
  • The discipline of biology devoted to the study of funguses is known as mycology.
The noun fungus has a Latin root, which is the derivation of the plural fungi. Through common usage, funguses (which adheres to the standard rules for forming plurals) is also now acceptable.

The table below shows the standard rules for forming the plurals of nouns in English.

Type Example of Type Forming the Plural Plural
Most Nouns lamp
scythe
add s lamps
scythes
Noun Ending s, sh, ch, x or z fungus
dress
add es funguses
dresses
Nouns ending [consonant] o hero
zero
tomato
add either s or es
(There are no rules for this - you have to know.)
heroes
zeros
tomatoes
Nouns ending [vowel] o patio
ratio
add s patios
ratios
Nouns ending [consonant] y story
penny
change the y to an i and add es stories
pennies
Nouns ending [vowel] y donkey
chimney
add s donkey
chimneys
Nouns ending f or fe dwarf
hoof
ves and/or s
(There are no rules - you have to know.)
dwarfs
hooves or hoofs
Exceptions man
louse
some nouns undergo a vowel or letters change men
lice
More exceptions salmon
sheep
some nouns do not change at all salmon
sheep
Foreign rulings fungus
medium
some nouns adopt foreign rulings fungi
media

Why Is There Confusion over the Plural of Fungus?

Confusion arises over the plural of fungus because its original plural form (fungi) derives from Latin and native English speakers are drawn to funguses, which adheres to the standard ruling for forming plurals.

Both funguses and fungi are acceptable, but fungi is by far the more common plural and the safest option. (See the evidence in Google's Ngram Viewer.)


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