Roofs vs. rooves

Roofs is the plural of roof in all varieties of English. Rooves is an old secondary form, and it still appears occasionally by analogy with other irregular plurals such as hooves, but it is not common enough to be considered standard.

Also see the proper usage of cacti and cactuses.

204 thoughts on “Roofs vs. rooves”

  1. I’m 50 and it (rooves) will always be “standard” to me! Who’s the idiot that misspelled it in the first place? I’ll bet it’s a liberal! Just like they’re trying to rewrite history!

    • You uh.. You understand that do to English’s status as one of if not the most mixed language in the world that similar words are often treated differently, right? Often do to different roots but even due to being adapted slightly differently. To use the logic that since “hoof” is “hooves”, “roof” MUST be “rooves” is similar to saying that since “goose” is “geese”, “moose” should always be “meese”.

      Similarly, “cactus” becomes “cacti”. But “platypus”? It is acceptable to say “platypi”, “platypuses”, or even just “platypus”, but actually the totally-correct word, although essentially no one uses it, would be “platypodes”. And actually, although “octopuses” has become the common plural and “octopodes” would also be (more) correct for “octopus”, “octopi” is still common, even though that implies a Latin root when it is not.

      So how often people use a word doesn’t necessarily change whether or not it’s correct. Ironically, treating a word improperly compared to its origin is English as a language constantly attempting to ‘rewrite history’.

      That said, “hoof” and “roof” totally do have the same origin, as do most English words that do the f-to-v thing. Again though, differing adaptation and other factors can come into play. Out of curiosity though, would you list the plural of “proof” (like in the case of writing a mathematic proof) as “prooves”? Multiple “chiefs” or “chieves”? Different “turfs” or “turves”? Spellcheck (which admittedly has its flaws) would tell me the “v”-version is wrong for all three of those (although it also tells me mathematic isn’t a word in its adjective form). But I totally wouldn’t blink if I heard someone say chieves, and I’m sure it’s common in some places. Regional dialects and whatnot. Doesn’t make it more correct though.

      • When you write “do to”, when you mean “due to” and you’re unable to structure a sentence properly I really don’t think you should be making sarcastic comments to other users on the finer points of the English language.

        • “You write ‘do to’ when you mean ‘due to,’ and you’re unable to structure a sentence properly. I really don’t think you should be making sarcastic comments to other users on the finer points of the English language.”

          I fixed it for you.

          At any rate, I really don’t think that a minor phonetic typo and an active choice to use conversational rather than perfect grammar in casual situations are quite comparable to insinuating that the dialect one has known from childhood is the only real dialect, that anyone who speaks differently is an idiot, and that differences in dialect are somehow a political ploy to rewrite history.

          I wasn’t trying to be a know-it-all or anything of the sort; it was more an effort to call attention to the arrogant nature of the post to which I replied.

          • Nothing. It is another word whose meaning has become perverted to the extent that, for many, it has come to mean the opposite of its meaning a hundred years ago.

          • Thank you, Alice. Some of us appreciate learning, even when it contradicts what we’ve always thought was correct. The same holds true when we learn that the history we were taught was not correct. That’s not rewriting history, that is correcting propaganda.

          • Excuse me, but do and due are not pronounced the same. Due and dew use the long u sound, while do uses the oo sound. I shall now go back to picking nits.

          • I was specifically taught proper pronunciation and grammar as a child. It has nothing to do with dialect or regional accent, and everything to do with education and public speaking. I am multilingual: I speak formal take me seriously English, midwest, ghetto, yankee, southern belle, and hillbilly. I can go from the boardroom to the barroom with ease and fit in anywhere. I also taught my children correct speech and grammar. Why limit yourself by holding on to lazy speech that elicits stereotypical images of your abilities?

          • No accent, you say? Pray tell, how manage that, exactly? I only ask because I am quite certain a significant number of people would call it an “American” accent.

            Honestly, I can’t be too judgmental about that, because years ago I do recall myself claiming I had “no” accent. The fact of the matter is, though, that such a thing is impossible in any language that has accents. (Aside from that, almost anyone will have a few tiny quirks that sneak in based on their region, though usually only someone from a drastically different region will catch them. My own accent is very flat, ‘formal’/’standard’ American, for the most part. But occasionally in just a few words now and then there’s a hint of South that friends in places like the Midwest don’t hear at all, but Jersey friends do.)

            British accents are older and we still consider them accents, for instance; and then there are sort of ‘sub’-accents such as cockney and “Queen’s English”, just like American English has things like hillbilly and “yankee”. (To get really pedantic, that could probably also be broken down into a lot of accents. What kind of “yankee”? Brooklyn? Philly? Joisey? Kennedy-Boston? Actual-Boston?)

            So I repeat, exact pronunciations of words can vary. Sometimes those variations are blatantly wrong, like I’ve heard at least three if not four different ways that people in different parts of the country pronounce “Oregon”. Obviously the only “correct” one is the one that matches Oregon’s own pronunciation of itself. But fairly subtle differences, like oo versus a long u? Especially in words that might vary in the same accent based on sentence placement? (I would usually use the oo sound when saying “Do you”, though if I’m trying to enunciate I might not. However, if asking, “You do?” it’s going to sound much closer to, though not quite technically homophonous with “due”. It would certainly be close enough that one not explicitly thinking about the precise subtle differences would hear them as being the same. I’m not claiming that’s the “most” correct by any means, of course. I’m saying that there is no definitive 100% ruling on such tiny things.)

          • British accents are not “older”—they’ve evolved as far away from the same original sources as NAmEng. Try search Youtube for Shakespeare in his original pronunciation.

          • There is a pretty significant gap between Shakespeare and the development of the American accent. That said, what I’m finding of Shakespearean English sounds sort of like a blend of Cockney and Scottish accents to me, albeit with a flatter intonation as compared to the rounder modern accents. That might just be me, though.

            That said, it was a period in which pronunciation was changing rapidly, so it may not be the most consistent comparison.

            The point, however, was that the common American accent is very far from being the language-wide default. There is no singular default. Therefore, it is impossible to have no accent.

          • You’re right—there’s no default (and never has been), so there’s no such thing as “no accent”. My point was that British variants are no more legitimate than American ones—they’ve all evolved away from the same roots, and in different ways—for instance, most American varieties retain the rhoticism that was once universal, as well as grammar (the “got” vs “gotten” distinction that has been lost in British English).

          • It really is astounding how often this thread has proven the correlation between trying to call others out on mistakes and making mistakes in the process. Try checking my name (and your capitalization) again.

          • The word “remember” implies that it was ever forgotten. Over-reacting to a minor typo– especially when it is more or less phonetic– does not make you a superior English speaker. It just shows impossible standards. Literally everyone makes mistakes.

            For instance, like the first person to correct me for that typo, you missed a comma in your sentence. Two uses of “please” is also somewhat redundant, although that is more of a suggestion than a rule.

            Basically, in the past, I too corrected people for their spelling and grammar; then two things happened.

            The first thing was realizing the frequency with which I found myself and others making ironic mistakes while in the midst of making such corrections, as a few of you have done here. (In one notable instance, I scolded someone in a game who was insulting other players yet couldn’t be bothered to “right out” his words. At least ten other players immediately jumped on my own mistake, and I couldn’t even be upset given how hard I ended up laughing at myself.) These ironic errors are also the only ones I still tend to correct, due to the irony rather than the errors themselves.

            The second thing was educating myself in different way. I’ve come to more actively realize that just as some people struggle with math or history or art, some people naturally struggle with retaining spelling and/or grammar. Some people write beautiful essays but “can’t draw a stick figure”; some people can do complex calculations mentally and make soul-inspiring artwork but have trouble remembering spelling and which homophones are which. There is also often a significant number of non-native speakers in any given place. Snapping at such people for their mistakes does nothing to encourage them to improve, most of the time; it usually discourages them. It is actually a counter-productive thing to do, helping neither them nor you.

            With that in mind, I do understand the nature of this site, and I’m certainly not saying that we should not strive to preserve the overall integrity of the English language (while remembering that all languages are either evolving or dying over time).

            I’m simply saying that showing a little more leniency would be better for many people. It isn’t healthy for the people on the receiving end to constantly hear how often they’re failing despite their best efforts. It isn’t healthy for the people on the giving end to be so distressed by legitimate and usually minor mistakes made by well-meaning people.

            if u c sum 1 tlkn lyk dis & its not n a txt–

            If you see someone talking like [^ that], and it’s not in a text message or similar platform with extremely limited character space that forces writers to get “creative” in order to fit full thoughts into one message, then by all means, lecture them on the merits of the English language.

            If you see someone consistently using the wrong form(s) of there/their/they’re, perhaps a gentler nudge is in order. Call their attention to it and try to constructively explain in a way that could help them remember; don’t insult them or employ a condescending tone, though.

            If you see someone use “their” instead of “there” once in a great blue moon, at random? Assume that they have the idea down and mistakes just happen, then move on? An utter lack of regard for the English language is a concern, but occasional typos really shouldn’t be.

            Perfectionism can be hard to act against, and I know many people who adore linguistics do seem to struggle with it, but keep in mind that people are ultimately more important than mere words, no matter how lovely those words may have the potential to be.

          • Have you ever overslept? Have you done so more than once? Have you ever tripped? Have you tripped more than once? Have you ever made the same mistake of any kind more than a single time? Clearly, you must be an idiot, because to err is certainly not human.

            Before you attempt to claim that that’s different, please remember that having a brain more suited to language-processing tasks than other tasks does not make you a superior human being. Mental strengths come in many different forms.

          • Ironically, your behavior has consistently had the highest air of attempting to be superior of anyone in the thread, yet you missed a comma and ended a sentence in a preposition in that small post alone.

            To humor your question, my errors tend to come from two primary places. The first is often replying very late at night or early in the morning prior to having slept. The second is a combination of being human and not caring enough about these petty arguments to spend much time proofreading. While a disregard for language is a major problem when it becomes rampant and active, I really don’t think the entire structure of civilization is going to fall if people are the slightest bit off their game in their leisure time.

            (Of course, as I have repeatedly emphasized throughout the thread, this means that I would neither care about nor point out things like your very small and very human errors if you were not asserting such an aggressive stance toward so many people. The fact that you make such similarly small errors while calling other people ‘stupid’ for making them is only serving to prove the point. It’s not stupid; it’s normal.)

            To answer your other question, I literally came here for the sole purpose of figuring out whether it was “roofs” or “rooves” and do not frequent the site at all. (Chrome’s spell-check favors roofs, incidentally, though I would hardly recommend trusting it as a definitive source.) I continue responding because I am neurodivergent in ways that make it very difficult for me to walk away from conversations for various reasons, so as long as I keep receiving notifications of responses, there is a very high chance of my continuing to read and respond in kind.

          • You care enough to keep coming back and posting drivel! Roofs is a verb while rooves is a plural noun. Get that straight.

          • I have a very strong suspicion that you either don’t know what neurodivergent means or you stopped reading my post halfway through.

            I also find it humorous that you conveniently disregard my points about your making mistakes in your previous post.

          • Yes, when it comes to a certain point that a trolls posts start sounding like “bla bla bla” I stop. Why continue replying to a common troll?

          • I sometimes stop for trolls, but I often continue replying due to a mixture of optimism and anxiety.

            In cases where the opinion being expressed does not already seem very likely to be sincere, my anxiety says, “But what if they ARE serious?” It also haunts me if I walk away. It tells me that I’m a failure and that I gave up, etc. It’s difficult to accurately put into words, but that is the overall gist.

            My optimism says, “No one is beyond help.” It says, “Even if I don’t change this person’s mind, perhaps I can sew a seed or water one someone else has planted in the past. Perhaps someday this can be a contribution to that idea properly sprouting in their mind.” In public forums like this, it says, “Perhaps the person with whom I’m speaking will not be swayed, but someone else who reads the conversation now or in the future will, or perhaps someone reading really needs to hear some words of understanding.” In this case, for instance, someone who loves writing and language but struggles with spelling could find a lot of solace in seeing someone defend that effort matters more than being entirely perfect in the end.

            I also reply to trolls because while I understand that legitimate trolls do exist, I feel like being the one to pass judgment over whether or not one is “trolling” can too easily become a tool to disregard what others are saying. When it is not over-the-top to a point of being ludicrous, who am I to say what is and is not trolling? I would rather subject myself to the stress of an argument than risk deeming someone who was actually sincere as being unworthy of my time.

            I reply to trolls because I have been accused of trolling when I was not only being sincere but was speaking for something I deeply cared about, and I know how that feels. For the record, I’m not referring to your accusation here, but to things with much stronger impact.

            I reply to trolls because what if, however unlikely, there is ever even one single instance over the course of my life wherein seeing someone who cares enough to never give up and never walk away leaves a lasting positive impact on someone, even if I am never directly aware of that impact?

            I reply to trolls because, although it has not to my knowledge dissuaded any of them from trolling as a hobby thus far and although none have ended up terribly close long-term, I’ve ended up on friendly terms with several of them when the initial arguments eventually wound down.

            Of course, if you think I’m a troll, you can walk away at any time. If you’re a troll, you can do whatever you like. I promise you, though, that I am here because I am a bleeding heart, and do not see that term as a negative thing. I am not here for reactions, but because I care entirely too much about everyone and everything, with emphasis on the everyone over the everything. I am here because I truly love grammar and language, but I love people with all their flaws even more.

          • Modified quotation:

            “You write ‘do to’ when you mean ‘due to,’ and you’re unable to properly structure a sentence. I really don’t think you should be making
            sarcastic comments to other users on the finer points of the English language.”

            I have attempted to fix it for you.

            At any rate, I really don’t think that a minor phonetic typo, inaccurate diction, and a deliberate choice of using
            colloquial rather than Standard English (in informal situations) is
            quite comparable to, insinuating that the dialect one has known from
            childhood is the only real dialect, that anyone who speaks differently
            is an idiot – and that differences in dialect are somehow a political
            ploy to rewrite history.

            I wasn’t trying to be a know-it-all, or
            anything of the sort; it was more an effort to call attention to the arrogant nature of the post to which I replied.

            End of modified quotation.

            Okay, there are a number of issues that present themselves inclusive of but not limited to: diction, syntax, singular & multiple clause punctuation, capitalisation, passive voice, aggressive tones, and inconsistent application of grammatical rules, etc. I could not fix them all without rewriting the whole quotation . . .

            I find your approaches problematic. Primarily, you are both using an ad hominem approach. That is, you are both making personal attacks regarding character rather than focusing on the usage of the plural “roofs” and “rooves” and their subsequent etymology. Nevertheless, I will endeavour to advise you both – and yes, I am using the Australian Standard English spelling in my writing.

            Three accepted forms of English, in their respective geographical contexts, are: Australian Standard English, British English, and American English. Geographical context (on the internet) can be drawn from a or a or a .com, etc.

            Let’s get down to business:
            1. there is no concrete political variable in the usage of “roofs” or “rooves”; and,
            2. I did not read a serious or authoritative tone in taz’s comment; and,
            3. “liberal” and “Liberal” have different definitions; and,
            4. a phonetic approach to spelling did have its place in the time of Chaucer; but it is not appropriate in this context; and,
            5. your discussion went off topic; and,
            6. with respect to the topic: usage of “rooves” suggests a person is using highly formal speech (as are many archaic forms) while usage of “roofs” can impress a sense of simplicity of mind (in certain socio-cultural contexts); and,
            7. in another five hundred years from now, it is likely that Modern English will be as archaic as Old English is today, and neither “rooves” nor “roofs” will resemble the standard form of any spoken form of “English” speech; and,
            8. in my opinion, the evolution of language is a beautiful thing when appropriately documented and/or discussed.

            Try to keep in mind that we all make mistakes; so, please be respectful (even if arguing for the sake of arguing). Thank you.

        • And, BTW, using due to is also bad sentence structure. The word because is a good substitute.

      • Excellent brief discussion of the craziness of english, especially the examples. Will link to people on occasion. Cheers.

        • In Anglophonic countries, the name of the language… English… is always capitalized. Not so in Hispanic-speaking countries (español) and Francophonic countries (francais).

      • You need to go back and check English when they used to actually teach it. I am 85. Don’t tell me about English..

        • Get down off your “high horse”, Irene. It’s because of you so-called “liberals” that it’s not taught, anymore.

        • Oh dear, Irene. You have split an infinitive, and “when they actually used to teach it” would have been much better!

          • There is nothing wrong with splitting an infinitive. (ie there is not grammatical rule which forbids it)

          • “Grammatical rules” don’t forbid (or permit) anything, they’re merely observations about common usages, which differ from place to place and from time to time. Irene, you need to accept that the English that you learned as a child is not exactly the common English of today, and that’s neither good nor bad, it’s simply the way it is. It is a living, growing, evolving, changing language, not one that was set in stone at any particular time and place.

      • You keep using the word “do” when you mean “due” and I think that how the general public does use a word does actually change it. Common usage surely has an effect on the spelling of a word over time.

      • Well, kid, when we went to school we were taught that the plural of roof was rooves. Some time long after that it changed. It’s not assuming anything, it was the standard. And to taz, who used this as a chance to trash liberals, I’m a flaming liberal and I agree with you. So there. To me, roofs sounds like something an uneducated person would say.

        • Once again, someone attempting to flaunt their allegedly impeccable knowledge of grammar makes errors. I swear it’s an immutable law of the universe, but no one seems to want to listen. :P At least you noticed and edited that typo, though the pre-edit version is what appeared in my inbox.

          Honestly, though, how is this still an issue? Why are people so violently opposed to the idea that both versions are allowed to exist?

          Do you know the plural of platypus? Is it platypuses? Technically, yes, but no. Is it platypi? Some people also accept that, but it’s even more incorrect, because platypus does not come from the same sort of root words as cactus and octopus. Therefore, it is not pluralized the same way. The most technically-correct plural of platypus is platypodes, but you never hear that and spell-check doesn’t recognize it as a word, although it recognizes platypuses.

          Did you know any of this? Do you expect most people do? Does that make the masses wholly uneducated? Or does this example help to prove that words sometimes look similar to the average English-speaker but still behave differently for etymological reasons, and/or that words are sometimes adapted despite their roots? Does it perhaps help to demonstrate that not having perfect knowledge of every single word in the language says nothing of one’s overall intelligence?

          To recap: I’m literally not arguing that anyone is wrong. I’m arguing that it’s okay for more than one side to be right. Why are people so adamant about opposing that idea?

    • Liberal, lol!!! Get a grip…
      You know language evolves, right? Or would you have us still saying, thee, thou, thy and verily in everyday language

    • The best part about this is I can’t tell if it’s trolling or actual conservatism. That’s always the best kind of trolling. The clearly actual conservatives responding to it with exclamation! marked! responses! simply adds joy.

    • Why does being 50 make you correct and just because something is standard to you is irrelevant,? if being older wins then I’m older than you so WHATEVER I say MUST be correct

      Roofs is the plural of roof always has been. BTW WTF does politics have to do with it? Actually don’t answer that I can do without the rhetoric and angst.

      • People like you are what’s wrong with society. Years of actual experience are worth much more than a couple seconds surfing the interweb on your smart phone for an answer. If you don’t see a connection between politics and 2 completely different truths, IDK what to tell you.

        • “Years of actual experience are worth much more than a couple seconds surfing the interweb on your smart phone for an answer.”

          Who the hell do you think you are judging people? I have more years of experience than you and worked in many different communities with a vast range of people. I’ve paid my dues in life mate and I’m NOT answerable to you, nor is anyone else.

          “If you don’t see a connection between politics and 2 completely different truths, IDK what to tell you.”

          There is NO connection between using grammar and politics except if someone is overly fixated on politics then EVERYTHING is linked to politics. What’s the matter? Didn’t you get the life you wanted and you’re pissed off so it must be the liberals fault as it couldn’t be your own?

          Seriously you just come across as a bitter twisted idiot or drunk OR both.

          Grow up.


      • Your logical fallacy is: tu quoque.

        You have absolutely no idea what my political leanings are by the way, and yet again you try to bring politics into a discussion about grammar. Like I said, that is just sad.

    • Gotten! GOTTEN! This “discussion” is based on the English language and you have the audacity to come out with this abomination! Your fingers are now contaminated. Please wash your hands immediately.

    • gif þú belíefest þe sēo ænglisce spræc must né forhwierfan, gewéne we scolde sprecan þus…

      If you believe that the English language must never change, perhaps we should all speak like this… ⬆️

    • Yes, Tas, I am older than you and likewise we were taught to use the ‘v’ when making a plural out of roof/hoof. Language does evolve and we are witnessing that right here.

      • No we aren’t! Most people still use rooves. This is a libtard attempt to change the word. I guarantee the author is a liberal.

    • Why would you continue to use “rooves” when it is incorrect? Quit being the idiot here and unwilling to change. People like you give old people a bad name.

    • I hear ya Taz! what is going on??? When did this change happen? No one told me…..roofs? hoofs???? That’s not even how the plurals are pronounced or have the pronunciations been changed too??? Rooves and hooves it is to me.

    • Good grief, Taz! “Idiot”? “(R)ewrite history”? I think if you go back far enough, but not too far, you will find that spelling, per se, only became an issue when publishers wanted to make a “standard” way of printing words. The “liberal” as you put it, would have existed way before that time. I am sure you are familiar that William Shakespeare and his near contemporary, John Donne both spelt (spelled?) their names many different ways and sometimes spelt their names differently on the same page. By the way, I’m 68, and I spell it as roofs – oh and I also write hoofs.

    • I’m 60. When at school I was taught that the plural of “roof” is “rooves” and the plural of “hoof” is “hooves”. Maybe my teachers were wrong. Maybe not.

      I was also taught that the past tense of “light” is “lit”, not “lighted”.

    • Leave it to a conservative to try to make any little thing, like a change in standard grammatical form, and try to turn it into an boneheaded political argument. If you go through your life blaming him every little on liberals, not only will you waste your life, but you are literally what is wrong with this country. Until ill-informed, petty people like yourself stop putting out stupid comments like this, blaming liberals for spelling errors, serious people, with serious purpose won’t be able to get anything done.

      • Liberals are what’s wrong with this country you idgit! Open your GD eyes! BTW what’s good for the goose….

    • How funny, I’m a liberal and 65 yo, and I say rooves too. See liberals and conservatives can have things in common… but you should also have learned that making grand sweeping generalizations about any group makes you seem not well educated.

      • Telling the truth makes me look unedumacated? So you’re blind to the historical revisionism going on as well? It sure as hell isn’t conservatives or libertarians doing it jack!

    • I am a liberal. I use ‘rooves’, ‘hooves’, and ‘dwarves’. The fact that ignorant conservatives cannot spell their way out of a paper bag does not require me to use their misspellings as the standard. Being English, I also know that how to spell the word for a certain type of foil used in cooking. It is aluminium not aluminum as some poorly educated American reporter typed it. Oh, and I also use ‘dreamt’ rather than ‘dreamed’ and ‘to lend’ and ‘lent’ rather than ‘to loan’ and ‘loaned’.

      • “Being English, I also know how to spell the word for a certain type of foil used in cooking. It is aluminium not aluminum as some poorly educated American reporter typed it more than a century ago.”

        You mean Being British? You’re not as smart as you think, considering aluminum predominates, and British chemist and inventor Humphry Davy used the word alumium in his first study in 1808 but later chose aluminum by the time he published his 1812 book Chemical Philosophy.

  2. I’m 85 with three degrees in English. Rooves is correct. Roofs is more popular and widely accepted, but not at my table.

    • Well, crabby, I’m only 65, but English is constantly changing. But, if dinner’s free I’ll use whatever form you want.

    • I agree that ‘rooves’ is correct; ‘roofs’ is the third person plural of the verb ‘to roof’, as in ‘He roofs houses for a living.’ Just as knives versus knifes; the latter being the third person verb as in ‘Thom knifes himself every time he calls Alicia Alice’.

    • Popular and widely accepted equals correct, for those with whom it is popular and widely accepted. You’re quite welcome to spell it “rooves” if that’s comfortable for you, but that doesn’t make other spellings incorrect. Would you say, for example, that the whole population of the USA is incorrect to spell and pronounce the light metal as “aluminum”? The rest of the world (including me) calls it aluminium, but neither is correct or incorrect, they’re merely different.

      • I am 80, going on 81. I am a Wordmaster. I looked for rooves in a big fat dictionary that I have had since 1960, and it weighs about 20 #s.
        That word was not in there, the explanation being that roofs is more commonly used. That does not make it right. It shows only the inattention paid to English by many people in school. and the inconsistentcy of saying roofs, and not rooves, which I learned when a lad, as against hoof and hooves, hooves being correct.
        It is like all the rummies saying snuck instead of sneaked, including the rummies getting paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to broadcast football and baseball games.
        My word checker just put a red line under snuck. If someone tweaks my nose, was it twucked?

    • If you’re 85, your brain is literally dying. I guess not being able to understand the idea of the change of language despite having /three/ degrees in english is part of that.

    • It certainly isn’t in New Zealand, where I’ve lived for more than 70 years. We write ‘roofs’, but pronounce it ‘rooves’. I have never seen it written ‘rooves’.
      But this is a pointless discussion — as Thom pointed out, English is constantly changing, and there just isn’t any ‘right’ or ‘wrong’, ‘correct’ or ‘incorrect’, there is only usage. The usage that is correct for you is the usage of the group with whom you identify or wish to belong to, but it’s no ‘better’ or ‘worse’, or more or less correct, in absolute terms, than that of other groups, it’s merely different.

      • i disagree, proud kiwi here, i was always taught rooves as the plural at school, and that was consistent throughout the three levels of school (And during the roofing course at UNITEC). It is about 50:50 where I live in Oz

  3. Not when I went to school in the sixties. Oh and Alicia, there is no logic in the English language, just common acceptance through usage.

  4. In the UK, we don’t say ‘roofs’, we say rooves, so as far as I am concerned, until we do say ‘roofs’, the standard remains rooves.
    If I am out of touch, and the majority of people do indeed say ‘roofs’ (and ‘thiefs’, and ‘turfs’ etc), then I would submit to the langauge evolving…

  5. Just because the common usage or spelling of a word changes doesn’t mean the original spelling or usage becomes incorrect. It just becomes old fashioned. Nothing wrong with that.

  6. Usage winning a popularity contest doesn’t make it unanimously attractive. Rules of thumb will only get you into trouble on a vocabulary quiz. There are more exceptions to the rules than there are thumbs. I’m only defending the formal education of the language, especially its many birthplaces, colloquial or not. It is not a tedious task for me nor a crime to require a student to learn to diagram a sentence, either. I enjoy researching and re-discovering the language. But, I am reminded of steering so many students back to the subject at hand, “We were discussing one word at the start, and now, once again, we’re moved to handing down edicts of right and wrong that are merely fool’s tools to derail the discussion until the bell rings. So, until that moment comes, take out pen and paper and diagram Alicia’s sentence for me. [” And actually, although “octopuses” has become the common plural and
    “octopodes” would also be (more) correct for “octopus”, “octopi” is
    still common, even though that implies a Latin root when it is not.”] Good luck on that one, scholars. Anyone who can pull that off gets a free dinner, on me.

    • I think you have just demonstrated that, despite your protestations, language, even yours, constantly changes and evolves — I bet that ‘diagram’ wasn’t a verb in the good ol’ days! It just might have been in the USA, but you’ll never encounter it here in New Zealand or, I think, in England.
      I’m certainly not against formal language education, but as a tool to understanding it, not as a way of getting children to adhere to spellings, pronounciations, and usage that were widely accepted when their teachers were children. Dictionaries and textbooks are descriptive, not prescriptive. There is no ‘correct’, there is only ‘widely accepted’, and what is widely accepted in one English-speaking social group, region, or country may well not be in another. Otherwise, surely all of the many details in which US English differs from UK English must be ‘incorrect’, mustn’t they? After all, England is where English originated. Or do you accept that US English has a right to differ?
      So if you do accept that national variations are acceptable, then surely you must also allow regional and social ones.
      And at least we agree that ‘edicts of right and wrong’ are fools’ tools!

  7. I’m 47 and I was taught “rooves” as well, but Spellcheck now puts up a red flag for it.

    I guess if enough people spell something wrong, it will eventually become the accepted spelling.

  8. I am 73 and an ex grammar school pupil. As far as I can recall the plural of ‘roof’ has always been’ roofs’ ….

      • Rooves as a plural for of roof is dated, but not incorrect. The Oxford English Dictionary lists “rooves” as an alternate to roofs, one of several outdated spellings used in the UK, and in New England as late as the 19th century.
        You must be Methuselah :)

  9. since we’re talking about grammar, i’ll type with capitals. starting now.

    I’m 33 and I was taught rooves. That’s how I’ll spell it and that’s how I’ll continue to spell it. I still write cursive, and I love my fountain pen. My daily programme (not program) includes writing with words that are spelt (not spelled) correctly. I hate driving automatic cars cause I like changing gears and using a clutch. I like Mozart a lot more than Katy Perry.

  10. I am 60 and I have never in my life heard the plural of roof pronounced as “rooves” until this evening’s news came on. Perhaps some people have heard it pronounced rooves depending on where they live. I grew up in Connecticut and moved to Maine my freshman year of high school. Truth be told, my sisters and I compared notes ‘from our first day of school’ that evening. We all agreed that it felt like we had gone backwards an entire year in school. But, I love Maine, and I love Grammar!

  11. The most remarkable thing about this discussion is how many arseholes are commenting. Did I spell “arseholes” corretly Alicia? A knowledge of grammar and the English language is a fine thing but it should never come at the expense of good manners. Now, you may argue that by calling people “arseholes” I am guilty of hypocracy, however I would counter that because Alicia and so many others here are indeed arseholes, I am merely speaking the truth.

  12. Rooves is standard here in the UK, at least that’s how we were taught in the 80’s and 90’s.

  13. Haha yeah I wish re time not us being c*nts. Aren’t you a brave man??? Dishing it out behind your computer screen. Why not go play on the train tracks? We can all swear I do so often when needed but doesn’t make it big or clever. Night troll.

    • lol! I’ll never understand people like that. When they comment it’s like everyone here is an a$$… including ME!

      • Oh please don’t let little troll boy get to you, thats what they want, its a head game. All front no substance. Its like they have so little stimulating them between their own two ears that they lash out at others for the sake of it. Trolling for entertainment …bless.

        • Guess I should have worded that differently? When I wrote “ME” I was talking about them. They don’t bother me. In fact they’re amusing, kind of like going to an amusement park without the rides!, lol!

  14. I have to say this whole thread has made me laugh so much. How did we get from grammar to historical comments with nothing to do with language. Without being rude England is a country in Great Britain which with the addition of Northern Ireland becomes the United Kingdom. All of the other countries within the United Kingdom have their own languages as well as English.

  15. This entire, absurd thread sums up everything wrong with the internet and why our entire species is doomed. At the risk of offending someone, it’s frickin’ hilarious.

  16. Ugh. Sets my teeth on edge when I read/hear ‘roofs’, ‘hoofs’, ‘dwarfs’ and ‘elfs’ instead of rooves, hooves, dwarves and elves. Was a time not too long ago when my hands would have been whacked with a cane for such grotesque mangling of the English language.

  17. As you’re all spouting about English, perhaps some of you should learn it. Rooves is the original spelling of the plural of roof.. I’m English and almost 60 so I think my education is probably reliable.. That and the fact that both of my parents were teachers… In general I’ve found that American English language is an unreliable standard to work from !

  18. I came to find out which plural form of “roof” was the correct one, and I stayed for the comment section. XD

  19. What? Not common enough to be considered standard? What planet are you living on? Roofs is just plain wrong!

  20. Both roofs and rooves are perfectly valid plurals.

    The fact that roofs is also a verb is irrelevant – there are many examples of this phenomenon in the English language.

    For example: shovels, drinks, shelters, and spoofs, to name but a few.

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