I was on my laptop last night in front of the TV that we purchased instead of a bed, sitting on an old couch we found in an alley, and something dawned on me. Something strange. Something that may be earth-shattering. Something that could change our very existence.
It all began with a simple response to an unrelated comment. In my previous Lynn Canyon post, Kenneth Moore mentioned he was listening to a certain band too much lately. I responding with, "You can never listen to too much of them." Things may have been fine if I had just stopped there. Unfortunately, I followed it up with, "Ew two t(w)o(o)s in a row."
Now writing that last sentence took me a good five minutes. I guess it technically should have been two to(o)s in a row, seeing as I didn't use the number version of the word. But I was scared of becoming trapped in an infinite t(w)(o)o loop! You see I used two t(w)(o)os twice in a row. The next sentence would have had to be the same. This would continue on forever as, "Ew, two t(w)[o]os in a row." The square brackets are there because I originally had them before the "s" but upon writing this post realized the first "o" should have brackets.
What is the correct plural form of the word when referring to multiple homophonic words (same sound, different meaning) and why has this never crossed my mind before? I guess this would be a noun. As far as I can gauge, it's a bit of a mess without any clear answers:
To & Too - To(o)s or T(o)os - Any thoughts on whether the first or second "o" should have the brackets?
To & Two - T(w)os
Too & Two - T(o)(w)os or T(w)(o)os - I think bracketed "o" first to be alphabetical.
To & Too & Two - T(w)o(o)s or T(w)(o)os or T(o)(w)os - They all start with "T" and end with "o" so I figure the 2nd or 3rd option. The 2nd is probably best because it doesn't look similar to any other words. That being said I like the bracket symmetry of the 1st.
All of this is turning into a horribly complicated mess and I'm starting to get scared. I'm sure someone has thought of this before and there must be some kind of answer. If not we'll have to petition a dictionary to include a magical all-encompassing plural form/rule for homophonic words!
I started to think a little harder and things became even more ugly. What happens when you want to refer to "there", "their" and "they're"? Is it something like this:
There & Their - The(i)r(e)s
There & They're - The(y')res
Their & They're - The(i)(y')r(e)s or The(y')(i)r(e)s
There & They're & Their - The(i)(y')r(e)s or The(y')(i)r(e)s
Now things are starting to look like some weird phonetic dialect. At least there aren't any other awful groups of words. Certainly not:
For & Four - Fo(u)rs
For & Fore - For(e)s
Four & Fore - Fo(u)r(e)s
For & Four & Fore - Fo(u)r(e)s
Here something terrible has happened! The last two both have the same pluralized spellings!!! How will people know if someone is referring to "Four & Fore" or "For & Four & Fore"? My pluralization formula has failed!
Is this some paradox that will destroy the universe? A once-in-a-lifetime world changing revelation? Something easily solved with a clear answer which my extremely limited and lazy googling cannot bring to light?
Please help. I've opened Pandora's Box and I can't close it.