Plural of curriculum

by Craig Shrives
The Quick Answer
The plural of curriculum is curricula or curriculums.

The Plural of Curriculum

Both curricula and curriculums are accepted plurals of curriculum.
  • Universities are inserting more vocational skills into their curriculums to improve the employability of their students.
  • The President subsequently instructed higher educational institutions to update their curricula to include value-based education to build the "character" of students.
The adjectival form is curricular, which is most often seen in the term "extra curricular activities," meaning activities outside the syllabus (e.g., chess club).

The noun curriculum has a Latin root, which is the derivation of the plural curricula. Curriculums (which adheres to the standard rules for forming plurals) is also an accepted plural.

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The Standard Rules for Forming the Plurals

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
curriculum
add s lamps
scythes
curriculums
Noun Ending s, sh, ch, x or z dress
bus
add es dresses
buses
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 donkeys
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 curriculum
medium
some nouns adopt foreign rulings curricula
media

Why Is There Confusion over the Plural of Curriculum?

Confusion arises over the plural of curriculum because its plural form (curricula) derives from Latin, and native English speakers are unsure whether curriculums, which adheres to the standard ruling for forming plurals, has come into use. Many words with Latin roots (e.g., nucleus, stadium, referendum) have either adopted a standard plural ending alongside the Latin one or have dropped the Latin one entirely (e.g., referendums but referenda ). Some have fully maintained their Latin plural (e.g., stimuli but stimuluses ).

With curriculum, both plural forms are acceptable, but curricula is the most common by far. [evidence]

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See Also

Unusual pluralsPlural forming table Quirks with forming plurals Forming the plurals of abbreviations Forming the plurals of compound nouns

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