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On one recent car trip my mates and I were discussing the endlessly fascinating world of English Language.
When one of us brought up the famous "octopus plural becomes octopi" it started a whole gamut of interesting ideas. "solar plexus" became "solar plexi", "campus" became "campi" and "fuss" became "fi". (see here for more ) We messed around, thinking of many other words that we could apply this rule to.
(One interesting one we came up with - plural of 'bus'? Bi!)

The riddle simply is this: Given that EVERY word in the English language would obey the above rule, what plural of a plural would make it's singular?


Please peek at the following disclaimer/clue ONLY when you've totally given up, downed your last twinkies and about to trash your brothers PS3 out of frustration... ONLY then may you peek..

This puzzle was very successful when tested out verbally. Seeing it now in the written form, I see how it may be much easier... but hey! that's showbiz.
(Post edited question - I don't think this disclaimer applies anymore...)

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    $\begingroup$ For what it’s worth, -us pluralized as -i is the rule for Latin’s second declension masculine nouns, many of which have found their way into English and are sometimes (though with decreasing frequency) still pluralized in a Latin style. More than one cactus becoming cacti, for example. However, octopus is actually a common mis-attribution of this rule: it comes from Greek, not Latin, and so its plural (in Greek) would be octopodes. As with cactuses, octopuses is also acceptable. Octopi, though, is basically nonsense—though nonsense so common that some accept it. $\endgroup$
    – KRyan
    Feb 21, 2018 at 20:32
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    $\begingroup$ (You may very well have already known all this—might be what you meant when you called it “famous”—but I was forced through too many years of Latin education to not lecture when it comes up :P) $\endgroup$
    – KRyan
    Feb 21, 2018 at 20:32
  • $\begingroup$ @KRyan :-) no worries. it's always great to learn something new. Check out the link in the question - it references your comments... $\endgroup$
    – Ben
    Feb 21, 2018 at 20:49

1 Answer 1

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If we were to pluralize

"us"

it would become

"I"

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  • $\begingroup$ nice! Just out of interest - did it help that you saw the question visually? do you think it would be more difficult verbally? $\endgroup$
    – Ben
    Feb 21, 2018 at 15:15
  • $\begingroup$ I looked at the hint, which may have helped. Honestly, it was the ' "....us" and seeing what results we get when changed to "....i".' bit that did it $\endgroup$
    – StephenTG
    Feb 21, 2018 at 15:17
  • $\begingroup$ k. edited the question to make it not so obvious.. $\endgroup$
    – Ben
    Feb 21, 2018 at 17:43

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