The Grammarphobia Blog

Right on the money

Q: My husband and I hate the plural “monies.” Argh! We refuse to use it. I’m 44 and he’s 47. I guess we’re “old school” in that it was drilled into us that the plural of “money” is “money.” We can’t use “monies” – it’s too painful.

A: I too despise “monies.” Notice that only bureaucrats use it. Normal people never say things like, “Oh gee, I left my monies at home.” Or, “I’ve got to transfer some monies into checking.”

Why do bureaucrats use it? Because it seems to camouflage the fact that they’re talking about real MONEY; that is, actual dollars and cents. Calling it “monies” makes it sound like figures being moved from one column into another, with no reality attached.

As you’re probably aware, dictionaries accept “moneys” and “monies” as legitimate plurals meaning funds or sums of money. Even my 50-year-old Webster’s New International Dictionary includes “moneys” (and “monies” as an irregular plural).

But I’m with you on this one. You’re right on the money.

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