Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Do you call a computer mouse, mice when plural??

hmmmm, always wondered this? lol.Do you call a computer mouse, mice when plural??
According to the OED, it is mouses. OED has about two dozen meanings for mouse. One of them is sense 13: ';13. Computing. A small hand-held device which is moved over a flat surface to produce a corresponding movement of a pointer on a monitor screen or to delimit an area of the screen, and which usually has fingertip controls to select or initiate a computer function, or to place a cursor at the pointer's position.';

In the spelling and plurals explanation it says this: ';19- mouses (chiefly in sense 13)'; What that means is that the plural of mouse is sometimes mouses, and not just limited to the computer, because the ';19-'; is OED's way of indicating that this is a usage that started in the nineteenth century (before computers) and remains extant today. Thus, the plural of computer mouse is computer mouses. OED even has several quotations, including this one: ';1997 鈥楺鈥?Deadmeat 13,' I could see people inside clicking on mouses and tapping keyboards.' ';

Don't get mad at me, get mad at OED! Incidentally, there are several plurals of mouse listed in OED besides mice and mouses, including ';mices'; and ';meece!'; It is clearly not true that the ONLY plural of mouse is mice, computer mouses aside.

EDIT:It is not possible the OED gives two different answers in two different editions; I have given mine above, it is quite clear what they say and it is verbatim.Do you call a computer mouse, mice when plural??
Actually, my copy of the OED lists both ';mice'; and ';mouses'; as correct plural forms of the term ';mouse'; in computing. Given this, I would say that it depends on personal preference which one you choose. Personally, I think both forms are perfectly acceptable, although I would incline towards using ';mice';. Hope this helps! Interesting question!
Interesting observation. Can't say though I've ever heard computer mouse said in the plural. I am guessing though they would say computer mouses, as in we've ordered a box of computer mouses to distribute. I don't think they would say we've ordered a box of computer mice to distribute.
';Mice'; is the plural for ';mouse'; regardless of whether you're referring to the animal or to the computer mouse.
Good question! I always use the plural when referring to the computer mouse.

Example: ';I have four old computer mice that don't work anymore.';
We always have. What else would you call them?

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