Writing for Business

Jun 26 2012   2:00PM GMT

Monies, moneys — or just plain old money?

Ivy Wigmore Ivy Wigmore Profile: Ivy Wigmore

Which is correct?
The CFO reported gleefully that corporate ______ available at the end of the fourth quarter were so substantial that she had first thought it was an accounting error.
a. monies
b. moneys
c. money

Answer: c

“Money” as a mass noun is never incorrect and — in this case — the other two words are. They are often used, incorrectly, to refer to especially large sums of money, as if we need double pluralization to express such a large wad of dough. Like when “super” isn’t enough to describe the magnitude of something and you’ve got to call it “super-duper.”

Here’s HarwardCommunications blog, a writing guide for non-native speakers of English, on the issue:
“We would never say I found some monies under the bed / There are some monies under the bed. And it is incorrect to say I found a money under the bed.”

That being the case, it doesn’t make any more sense to refer to “monies available at the end of the fiscal quarter.”

However, in financial and business writing the other forms are standard language used to refer to discrete streams of funds, whether sources or targets. Examples include monies (that’s the common current spelling) earmarked for various corporate initiatives or monies due from various accounts.

Outside of that arena, stick with “money” and you won’t be wrong.

Follow me on Twitter @tao_of_grammar

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