I’ve been thinking about moose and I thought we could talk a little bit about grammar. Don’t stop reading!
I know you’re wondering why the plural of moose isn’t meese, right?
Unfortunately, it’s not very interesting. But I’ll do my best. Don’t stop reading!
The roots of the word “moose” are from a native word meaning “twig eater.” As well, moose in Europe are called elk. Why this is of any consequences is apparently because the original language moose comes from doesn’t do plurals.
But that’s stupid. No amount of Googling could find any research behind this answer and other people in Internet-land have just copied and pasted this same, probably incorrect, answer instead of doing the work themselves.
So I went away from the Internet (bye bye) and towards my new favourite podcaster: Grammar Girl.
Of course Grammar Girl had something to say about moose. Actually she has a lot to say and it gets a bit convoluted. In order to cover what she does, I suppose I have to go over all the other weird animal plurals out there (ox-oxen, goose-geese, sheep-sheep, mouse-mice) and find explanation/roots for them but I wouldn’t want to label myself some sort of grammar nerd…
So instead let’s just say the word “moose” in English falls into the category of a collective noun, so it is the same singular and plural. The reason, if you care, is because we’ve brought some of the Ye Olde English rules with us from the motherland and they don’t make a ton of sense, but it’s something we just go with.
But mostly we say moose when we mean one or many because it’s comfortable. It wouldn’t feel right to say “meese” and we’d probably get all twitchy and start resenting moose and stuff.
In the end, if you can’t accept the moose-moose phenomenon, you can just call them by their group name—herd.
You know, like that time I saw a herd of moose and it was awesome. Or, did I see a moose? I sure did! A whole herd!
Anyway, it doesn’t really matter since moose don’t like to hang out with each other much so you probably won’t run into this problem unless you live in Smithers, British Columbia.
Which is a moose story I never got to and couldn’t find photos from so you’ll just have to email me about it.