Marys
Posted: 19 January 2017 09:07 AM   [ Ignore ]
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We have the Snoddies round, sail in dinghies, refer to foreign johnnies but Catholics say Hail Marys. I can see they consider it a thing like the Lord’s Prayer or a loaf or a fish but Hail Maries would work. Maybe they didn’t want to mess with a sacred name despite English spelling conventions.  Are there other exceptions?

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Posted: 19 January 2017 09:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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There are quite a few.

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Posted: 19 January 2017 11:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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We have the Snoddies round

Not to my house, unless their surname is actually Snoddie. If it were Snoddy, I’d invite the Snoddys. There’s an old Scottish ballad about the four ladies-in-waiting of Mary Queen of Scots, each with the same given name: it’s called ‘The Four Marys’.

And whatever the context or rule, I suspect we’d always pluralise Mary as Marys, as Maries looks like the plural of Marie.

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Posted: 20 January 2017 02:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Nor mine. I can’t think of any name ending in -y the spelling of which I would change to -ie in the plural. Two guys named Barry would be Barrys, Harry Harrys, Tony Tonys, Wendy Wendys and so on and so forth.

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Posted: 20 January 2017 03:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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aldiboronti - 20 January 2017 02:46 AM

Nor mine. I can’t think of any name ending in -y the spelling of which I would change to -ie in the plural. Two guys named Barry would be Barrys, Harry Harrys, Tony Tonys, Wendy Wendys and so on and so forth.

The thing is, in Hail Marys, you’re not talking about two women called Mary. You’re talking about devotional recitations or desperate football maneuvers.

If you were talking about two men called Johnny, you’d probably say Johnnys, but if you’re talking about a couple of condoms, you’ll say johnnies. If you’re talking about a couple of policemen, you’ll say bobbies.

But the Mary in Hail Mary remains capitalised, so I suppose it has not been completely depersonalised yet.

[ Edited: 21 January 2017 03:07 PM by OP Tipping ]
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Posted: 20 January 2017 05:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Yes, the general rule is that proper nouns that end in < y > simply add < s > to form the plural; the base remains the same and the word takes the regular suffix. Hail Mary is a proper noun, so it follows the rule. This rule applies to common nouns that are used as proper nouns, e.g., three copies of Variety magazine would be referred to as three Varietys.

Common nouns typically drop the < y > and add < ies >. This applies to common nouns whose etymology is a proper noun, as in johnnies (condoms) or jimmies (ice cream sprinkles). Exceptions are common nouns with composite vowels, which simply add < s >, e.g., guys, honeys, donkeys.

As in all things English-language related, there are exceptions. One is money, which typically does not inflect the plural at all, but when referring to multiple types or sources of funds is spelled monies, not moneys, an exception to the exception.

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Posted: 20 January 2017 09:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Yes, I now recognise many of the contrary examples you gave and I’ve made a damn fool of myself again. Still.

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Posted: 20 January 2017 05:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Hails Mary?

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Posted: 21 January 2017 09:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Hails Mary?

Very nice!

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Posted: 21 January 2017 04:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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BTW the OED does give a cite for “Hail-Maries” from 1852 ( F. W. Faber Jesus & Mary (ed. 2) 130 ).

Google Books turns up a number of hits in formal works from the late 18th century and 19th century. Note that there was a time when the mother of Jesus was called Marie by English speakers but that was well out of style by the mid 18th century.

A portraiture of the roman Catholic Religion, by Joseph Nightingale, 1812.
http://tinyurl.com/josephnightingale

The Catholick Christian Instructed in the Sacraments, by Richard Challoner, 1793 (originally publish 1737)
http://tinyurl.com/richardchalloner-2

The History of Religion, by James Murray, 1764
http://tinyurl.com/jamesmurray-2

The British Protestant, Or, Journal of the Religious Principles of the Reformation, Volume 1, J.F. Shaw, 1845
http://tinyurl.com/britishprotestant

I can’t find anything of this kind in a formal religious work from the 20th century so perhaps the rules only solidified in the late 19th century.
“Hail maries” does still turn up today in unedited works (blogs, self-published poems etc) but I suppose those can be considered mistakes.

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Posted: 22 January 2017 04:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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“Hail maries” does still turn up today in unedited works (blogs, self-published poems etc) but I suppose those can be considered mistakes.

Either that, or given the lower-case < m >, it’s in the process of losing its status as a proper noun and acquiring the common noun inflection. If so, I would expect to see this spelling more often in the football context than the religious one.

Note also that in two of the four linked examples our father is also lower case, as is the hail in hail Mary. So the writers aren’t treating the prayers as proper nouns.

[ Edited: 22 January 2017 05:03 AM by Dave Wilton ]
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Posted: 23 January 2017 03:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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’Course these days it’s Hail (((Mary))).

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