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Kjell Rehnstrom wrote:
[snippet]
 
> >Your teacher misinformed you, then!  According to Webster's, the plural of
> >"potato" is "potatoes" (and according to Dan Quayle, the singular has an E as
> >well!).  The irregular ones are usually loan words e.g. "sopranos".
>
> I suppose it is the other way around. I did not absorb the information of
> my teacher correctly, as I think it is wrong to teach vocabulary in that
> way.
>
> What I mean is that one should not teach -os and oes-words at the same
> time. This is very tempting when you already know the stuff. Because if you
> are not 100 % concentrated some of the information will disappear from your
> brain, and you will wonder "did purely English words have an o only in the
> plural, or was it the other way around?"
 
A very good point.  Teach the "unmarked" (i.e. default/regular) form first; deal
with exceptions (and _why_ they are exceptions) later.  Of course it depends on
what you're teaching and who you're teaching it to.  For example, at my university
they give special English courses to resident musicians - obviously on that
course, I would teach the plural of "soprano" before "potato".
 
Robin Turner