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Let's say I'm writing a story and there's a character named Jim and he sees 10 identical people who have similarities with his friend Emily, in fact, they look exactly like Emily.

What would Jim possibly say?

  1. You may not believe it, but I saw ten Emilys in the woods.
  2. You may not believe it, but I saw ten Emily in the woods.

This is my best thought I could think of to illustrate the problem. So, is it countable or not?

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  • When I first looked at this, "Emilys" looked wrong: normally, if there is a consonant before the y, the plural is formed by changing the -y to -ies. I looked this up, and apparently the y remains a y for proper nouns. grammarist.com/plurals/plurals-of-nouns-ending-in-y
    – JavaLatte
    Jan 12 at 6:55
  • @JavaLatte I have edited my question. Thanks for the input.
    – user516076
    Jan 12 at 11:02
  • 1
    You were right in the first place... Emily is a proper noun, so you don't change the y
    – JavaLatte
    Jan 13 at 1:06

1 Answer 1

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The first is correct. In this case, you are not really counting the name but the person, Emily. You can definitely count people (one person, two people, etc.) and thus you can say you "saw one Emily", "saw two Emilys", etc.

The second sentence doesn't make sense. It implies, in a sense, that "Emily" is both the singular and plural, like "fish". "One fish", "two fish" (not fishes). "Emily", of course, is not the plural of "Emily" and this sentence therefore does not work.

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