Writing for Business - A Whatis.com Blog

Oct 10 2013   12:12PM GMT

Crisis, crises, crisies



Posted by: Ivy Wigmore
Tags:
irregular plurals
pluralization
spelling

Which is correct?

interrobang When Ben Franklin said nothing is certain but death and taxes, he could have added one more sure thing: We can be certain there will be at least a few ______ in our lives.a. crisises
b. crises
c. crisies

Answer: b

Explanation:

I was writing about crisis management recently and it occurred to me that the plural of crisis is another of those tricky irregular ones. Sure enough, I found 30,200 Google hits for crisies and 101,000 for crisises. Both wrong. Maybe there are four sure things: death, taxes, crises and spelling errors.

Death and taxes is a phrase that resonates. Here’s the original quotation:

Our new Constitution is now established, and has an appearance that promises permanency; but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.
Benjamin Franklinin a letter to Jean-Baptiste Leroy, 1789
More on crises and similar plurals:

Quite a few words that end in is are pluralized by changing is to es. Here are a few more examples:

singular plural
axis axes
analysis analyses
basis bases
diagnosis diagnoses
ellipsis ellipses
emphasis emphases
hypothesis hypotheses
neurosis neuroses
oasis oases
parenthesis parentheses
thesis theses

Grammarist provides a handy reference for irregular plurals  from which I swiped the examples above. You should go look — she’s got lots more.

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