I won’t go into the details of how and why I ended up asking such a ridiculously easy and pointless exam question. I’ll spare you the utter dejection and desperation. Suffice to say that I ended up asking it. In the desperate hope that the soon-to-have-a-BS students had tweaked to my announcement that “if you form the plural of “manus” as “mani” I’ll flunk you outright“, and realised that Latin terms for bones would, despite all their protest that they didn’t have Latin in school, would turn to applied geosciences, didn’t like my [dinosaur] shirt, or hadn’t brought their pencils, form part of the test. A vain hope, as I soon should see.
OK, here’s the question – I didn’t phrase it like this, but rather gave a table of plurals and singulars of five terms, with one column empty for each. But in the end, it amount to this:
What is the plural of “femur”?
The ~40 students together gave me a choice of 19 different answers. Here they are, in their whole and utter idiocy, laziness and absurd glory (note that this test was in German):
and in case you didn’t catch this little gem:
not a single one is correct!
(In German, the plural “femurs” is not correct, as the word “femur” was never Germanized).
Even four years later, I feel the need to create bloody key imprints on my forehead (i.e., headdesk onto laptop).
Oh, and the plural of “manus” is “manūs”. With a long “u”. Just in case you didn’t know.
Do you know how many paleontology papers by ‘professional’ paleontologist get it wrong?
I cringe as a reviewer, and correct – was surprised one time when a very smart colleague emailed me “I do not understand your comment”. 😦
OTOH, Dino Frey bested me on plural of pubis – ouch!
What is the correct plural of “femur”? I always thought it was “femurs” or “femora” ( http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/femur?s=t&ld=1086 ). Many thanks in advance.
Both are correct in English: femurs for the English word, femora for the Latin. But this test was given in German, where there is no “Germanized” plural available.
<– eye witness
Heiner… did you mention that the new singular of "phalanges" is phalynx?
To be honest I had totally forgotten about the mythical felid from the German Triassic 😉
Ah, yes, reminds me of the student who wrote on an exam that the squamosal bone was … wait for it … the SQUASHMOSAL bone!
mwahahaha!!!!!! That is really enormously stupid.
Squashmosal? That is too funny. Perhaps a strange gourd-shaped bone?
you’re too nice a person, Rob! It is called the squashmosal because it is the point to aim for if you really want to squash someone with one hit 😉