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Minima and Maxima

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Celia, from Spokane, Washington, is unhappy that fewer and fewer English speakers seem aware of the correct plurals of Latin and Greek words. She is bothered, for example, when someone refers to minimums rather than minima. Minima is more often a British usage, as is maxima, for the plural of maximum, rather than maximums. It’s possible to carry such things too far, though. For example, agenda in Latin literally means “things that must be done,” but we still speak of multiple agendas. Certain words from other languages become nativized in English, and Greek and Latin words that do retain their plurals tend to be in particular scientific fields. This is part of a complete episode.

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