There’s an old saying in English that goes “you say potato; I say pot-ah-to.” It’s a play off the same saying “you say tomato; I say te-mah-to.” While there’s actually only one pronunciation of potato, it reminds us that variants of the same word often mean the same thing.
Incidentally, potato is also the basis for another set of confusing spelling variants. The plural of this noun is potatoes. Or is it potatos?
Some words that end in vowels take the -es suffix as plurals, while others take the -s suffix, so it is not always easy to remember which word belongs in which category.
Where does potatoes fit? What is the plural of potato? Let’s find out.
What is the Plural of Potato?
In this post, I will compare potatoes vs. potatos. I will outline which of these spelling is correct and which spelling you should avoid.
Plus, I will show you how to use a mnemonic tool to help you remember whether potatoes or potatos is a better choice.
When to Use Potatoes
How do you spell potato? The singular spelling of potato doesn’t contain the letter “E,” so it is somewhat understandable that people would get confused when the plural does.
- The correct plural spelling is potatoes.
- Potatos is a common misspelling.
Potatoes, of course, are a type of vegetable that come from the potato plant. The edible part of the plant is an underground tuber.
Potatoes are a plentiful crop that originated in South America. They are very starchy, and are a good source of vitamins B6 and C. They are an important part of many traditional dishes.
Here are some sentences that contain the word potatoes,
- “Honey, when you go to the store today, will you remember to buy a bag of potatoes?” asked Charlotte.
- The Clatsop family made their fortune growing potatoes on their farm in Idaho.
- The spud is the very emblem of doing it your own way, and lately chefs have been experimenting with potatoes of every personality… –The Wall Street Journal
When to Use Potatos
The word potatos is a common misspelling of potatoes—although, as you can see below, it really isn’t that common.
Since the singular noun potato ends in the letter O, it is easy to see why many writers are tempted to pluralize it to potatos. After all, burrito becomes burritos, semipro becomes semipros, and banjo becomes banjos.
Still, the only standard plural form of potato is potatoes. The chart below graphs potatos vs. potatoes in English books published since 1800,
Even though this chart is not exhaustive in its scope (it only counts books, not magazines or newspapers), it is accurate enough to show that almost no one has used potatos in a published book for at least 200 years.
Trick to Remember the Difference
Since potatoes and potatos are so similar, it can be difficult to remember which one is correct. Still, here is a helpful trick to remember potatoes vs. potatos.
Potatoes has an E in it, and potatoes are edible, so the shared E between these words is your mental clue that potatoes is the correct variant of this word.
Is it potatos or potatoes? Potatoes is the plural form of the noun potato, which represents an edible tuberous vegetable that is part of the traditional cuisines of many cultures.
Potatos is a misspelling of potatoes that rarely, if ever, takes place in edited prose.
Remember, you can always check this site any time you need help with confusing words.