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Say I have a list of "To-Do" things. I want to mention them to someone, so I doubt on how to call it:

1. I have many "To-Dos" for today
2. I have many "To-Does" for today
3. I have many "To-Do's" for today

None of them looks fine to me, but I don't know how to check it out.

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  • 1
    Alternately, you can use "to-do" as an adjective: "I have a long "to-do" list for today.
    – Andrew
    Sep 29, 2016 at 15:48
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    @Andrew Exactly my thought, except for I think I might not use for. Sep 29, 2016 at 15:54
  • @DamkerngT. Agreed, the "for" is optional.
    – Andrew
    Sep 29, 2016 at 16:04
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    "I have lots to do today" Sep 30, 2016 at 10:25

5 Answers 5

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In special cases, such as when forming a plural of a word that is not normally a noun, some writers add an apostrophe for clarity.

Example: Here are some do's and don'ts.

In that sentence, the verb do is used as a plural noun, and the apostrophe was added because the writer felt that dos was confusing. Not all writers agree; some see no problem with dos and don'ts. (Source.)

So I can imagine that many would say to-do's is ok. to-does doesn't seem right, though I can't explicitly exclude it.

However, according to the Free Dictionary [1] and Merriam-Webster [2], the plural form is

to–dos


The original question asks for the plural of to-do, but OP's given examples might sound funny or odd. Instead, you could say "I have a long to-do list" or "I have many things on my to-do list", for starters.

Speaking of lists, you could also say "I have a laundry list of things to do", though this is an aside :)

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    "To-does" is almost like a pun or a joke: "I had a long 'to-do' list, but I procrastinated so long it's now a 'to-does" list ..."
    – Andrew
    Sep 29, 2016 at 16:07
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    @Andrew "to-didn'ts" would fit better in the punchline IMO
    – Nic
    Sep 30, 2016 at 0:39
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    @QPaysTaxes yeah now that I re-read it, I'm glad I don't work in comedy :)
    – Andrew
    Sep 30, 2016 at 0:49
  • @Andrew well, that was bad :D I would almost read "to-does" as the third person of the verb "do", so it would be like a "to-do" that someone else does. Sep 30, 2016 at 8:17
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I wouldn't use the second one, since the second part looks like "many female deer (does)", or simply the English word "does" as in "he does the dishes".

And I dislike seeing apostrophes to indicate plurals - but they are accepted in rare circumstances.

That only leaves the first one: "To-Dos".

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  • +1'd Thank you for showing how to capitalize that word, to-dos => To-Dos. Dec 2, 2016 at 18:14
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I would skip all of that and just say "I have a lot to do today" or "I have a lot on my to-do list".

Google NGram shows "to-do list" beating the other options by a wide margin. If you really want to go with one of them, to-dos is the most common, then to-do's, with to-does being dead last.

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A distinction should be made between many items on a single to-do list or many to-do lists. Additionally, to-do is the adjective describing the type of list. The noun "list" is often understood and omitted.

If you want to pluralise or emphasize the number of tasks then I would suggest something like:

  1. I have many tasks (or items) on my to-do list today. (more formal), or
  2. I have a long to-do list today. (more informal and the noun "list" is still typically used)

but for numerous lists, I would say:

  1. I have a several to-do lists to complete today.

... and for a maximized workload of many tasks on many lists:

  1. I have a lot of tasks on my to-do lists today.
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The plural of To-Do is To-Dos. So the correct usage would be

I have many To-Dos for today

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    Welcome to ELL. You should include your reasoning or justification for your answer, otherwise it's just your opinion. A dictionary entry, examples of real-world usage, or statistics would make this a good answer. Sep 29, 2016 at 21:57

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