English is my native language, and I find it entirely logical. But for every other non-native speaker on Earth, it is one of the most difficult languages to learn.
Full of confusing and contradictory rules, and seemingly non-sensical words, it is baffling! But even if you have spoken English for your whole life there are some befuddling turns of phrase in our tongue.
Take the plural forms of various things, including animals. Let’s consider the humble goose for a moment: is the plural form of goose “goose”, “gooses” or something else?
The plural form of “goose” is “geese”. “Geese” is the only correct plural form of “goose”. “Goose” is not functional as a plural and “gooses” is not actually a word, so you should never use it.
Now that is a thing you know. But there is a lot more to learn about the grammar conventions associated with geese and also related taxonomical facts below. Let’s get going.
What is a Goose?
Geese are water birds that belong to the family of Anatidae, which includes ducks and swans.
They are found in many parts of the world, particularly in the temperate and colder regions of North America, Europe, and Asia.
There are many species of geese that vary in size and behavior, but they are generally known for their loud honking calls and distinctive V-shaped flights.
Geese are also popular in many cultures as a source of food, particularly during festive occasions like Christmas and Thanksgiving.
Their meat is known for its rich flavor and they are often used in traditional dishes, such as roast goose with apple and sage stuffing.
“Geese” is an Irregular Plural
An irregular plural, as the name suggests, is the plural form of a word that does not follow the standard rules of English for pluralizing- sticking an ‘s’ on the end! Such is the case with the word “goose” as its plural form is geese.
Many other animals also have irregular plural forms of their name, such as mice, deer, sheep, moose and oxen, among others.
In short, if you don’t pop an ‘s’ on the end of its name when describing a group of critters, it is an irregular plural
The word “goose” itself is an Old English word, and its plural form “geese” comes from the same linguistic roots.
The use of geese as an irregular plural is thought to have developed over time due to the influence of Old Norse and Middle Low German languages, which were spoken in Northern Europe during the Middle Ages.
In fact, the word “goose” and its irregular plural “geese” is a pretty unique grammatical artifact of the English language, and we will learn more on that in just a bit.
While it may seem confusing at first, it is important to understand the rules of irregular plurals to communicate effectively in writing and speech.
Whether you’re discussing wildlife or sharing a recipe, don’t forget to use the plural form of this beloved bird correctly.
What are the Possessive Plural Forms of “Goose”?
Buckle up, reader. Things get more complicated! To create the possessive plural forms of words, generally we add an apostrophe and an ‘s’ to the end of the word.
However, when it comes to plural possessive forms of irregular plurals like “geese”, the rules can be a bit tricky.
In the case of “goose” and “geese”, their possessive forms depend on the context of use. If we’re referring to the possession of a single goose or an uncountable noun form of the animal, we use the standard apostrophe and ‘s’ rule to create the possessive form.
For example, “The goose’s feathers were beautiful” and “The noise of the goose’s honking is unbearable.”
However, if we’re talking about the possession of multiple geese, we simply add an apostrophe ONLY after the plural form “geese”.
For example: “The geese’ migration patterns are fascinating to study” or “The geese’ feathers were scattered all around the farmyard.”
Don’t fall into the trap of adding the apostrophe-‘s’ to the end of geese! In English, generally one tries to avoid any possessive form of a word that adds a third sibilant consonant: an “s” or “z” sound.
Other possessive plurals that end with ‘s’ or ‘es’ that use a similar possessive form include:
If you disagree, try saying them with the typical possessive apostrophe-s. Sounds pretty harsh, yeah?
It’s important to note that the apostrophe placement in the possessive plural form of “geese” is different from other plural forms that follow standard pluralization rules.
The possessive forms of geese can be a bit tricky to navigate but with a little practice and study you’ll soon master it.
What is a Group of Geese Called?
A group of geese is not properly called a flock, though this is extremely common. A group of geese is properly called a gaggle.
It is believed that the term was first used to describe a group of geese because of the loud honking and other sounds they make when traveling in groups.
Gaggle is generally used to describe groups of geese, though the term is sometimes applied to any type of waterfowl or birds in general.
But, things have to be more complicated with geese. That is just the way it is, I don’t make the rules.
The term gaggle only applies to geese when they are on the ground or water. In flight, a group should be referred to as a skein or wedge.
What is a Male Goose Called?
A male goose is known as a gander. This word too originates from Old English, and is still used in modern English to refer to a male goose.
A gander is not, as sometimes thought, a group of geese. This is because of the old proverb if it’s good for the goose, it is good for the gander.
Sometimes thought to refer to a multitude and an individual, it really refers to a male and female goose, or by way of explanation two things that are only nominally different when it comes to important things.
What is a Female Goose Called?
A female goose is just called a goose, or alternately is referred to as a dame to help differentiate her from any other goose, generally.
Now that proverb I mentioned might make more sense, eh? “If it is good for him, it is good for her.”
What is a Baby Goose Called?
A baby goose is called a gosling. A group of baby geese are a gaggle. A mixed group of adolescent and adult geese is a gaggle. The plural form of gosling is…
Bet you were expecting something hideously weird, weren’t you? Maybe Gosleese? Gosli? Nope, just goslings.
Tom has lived and worked on farms and homesteads from the Carolinas to Kentucky and beyond. He is passionate about helping people prepare for tough times by embracing lifestyles of self-sufficiency.