The plural of ox is oxen or ox.
An ox refers to an adult castrated male of the cattle species, particularly the domesticated bovine, Bos taurus. Owing to their strength and docile nature, oxen have historically been used as draft animals in agricultural activities
The grammar rule for forming the plural of most nouns involves adding an "s" at the end. However, the word ox deviates from this rule. Instead, it follows a unique pattern when pluralized. The plural of ox is oxen.
The change in structure from "ox" to "oxen" reflects an example of linguistic evolution. The plural form oxen has its roots in Old English and is an archaic pluralization that has persisted over time. It is retained for historical reasons, providing a glimpse into the language's development.
Over the centuries, as English transformed and simplified its grammar, many irregular plural forms faded away. However, certain nouns like "ox" retained their distinct plural form, adding a touch of historical flavor to the language.
The spelling "oxes" is universally considered incorrect; however, there is an alternative plural form for "ox" that involves leaving the word unchanged. For example, one could say, "There were multiple ox in the field that day.".
Although this plural form is not as commonly used or recognized in all dictionaries, it is documented in reputable sources like Merriam-Webster and Britannica.
In the realm of grammar, nouns can be classified as countable or uncountable. Countable nouns refer to objects or concepts that can be enumerated or quantified individually, whereas uncountable nouns are substances or abstract ideas that cannot be counted as separate units.
The word ox is typically considered a countable noun. It represents an individual animal within the bovine species. Each ox can be counted separately, making the noun "ox" fall into the category of countable nouns.
A collective noun represents a group or collection of people, animals, or things. It serves as a singular entity, even when referring to multiple individuals or objects. So, what are some collective nouns for a group of oxen?
The collective noun for a group of oxen can be described as either a team or a yoke. These terms emphasize the collaborative nature of oxen working together and are used to signify their combined strength and coordinated effort.
Here are examples of sentences showcasing the usage of each collective noun:
Let's now explore some example sentences to illustrate the singular and plural forms of the word ox.
The graph shows the occurances of the plural of ox in written English since 1800 using Google's Ngram Viewer.