J.R.R. Tolkien is famous for the invention of elaborate fantasy worlds, with their own languages, mythos, and races of beings, but did you know he is also largely the root of a common misspelling? Not getting into the correctness of using the noun “dwarf” for anything but the fictional beings, do you know the plural of this word?
“Dwarves,” you might say—that’s what Tolkien uses, after all. But then, of course, you’d be wrong. The plural of “dwarf” is actually “dwarfs.” Don’t believe me? Disney got it right when they titled their movie, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.” Astronomers talk about “white dwarfs.” The non-traditional plural ending “-fs” is in fact the correct answer.
When you use the word “dwarf” as a verb, the same form appears. For example, “In Tolkien’s Middle Earth, an elf dwarfs a dwarf.”
Was Tolkien trying to continue his original world-building by using the non-traditional ending for the plural of dwarf? Who knows. All I know is that I see it incorrect all of the time.
But no longer from you, dear reader, right?