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Wolfs Versus Wolves

I meet a lot of nice people. I’d take credit for that, but the truth is that I meet those nice people because of my wife. She is very social and a magnet for good people. I am not similarly gifted. I’m only good at speaking with people who are dangerously, criminally insane.

My gift isn’t as useful as it was before I retired. We don’t typically socialize with the criminally insane. That means that my skill set is wasted upon the non-hostage taking people we spend time with.

Meet The Wolfs Wolves These Nice People

What if these wolves last name is Wolf? (image by vargar CCbySA2.0)

So it was through my wife’s graces that we recently came to know yet another couple who are neither dangerous nor criminals. Their last name is Wolf. They’re friendly, older and we see them often at our favorite restaurants.

I’m trying to become better at talking to normal people while de-emphasizing my tendency to build rapport with angry, heavily armed folks. I’m seeing results from my efforts. I am getting a lot more comfortable in social situations. There have been times that I’ve held my own in a conversation. I’ve even introduced people to each other.

And introductions are where that nice, friendly, older couple whose last name is Wolf comes back in to the discussion.

Introductions Are My Problem

Twice, I have introduced these nice folks to other people. But introducing people involves saying their name. On both occasions, I have intended to begin the introduction by saying “these are the Wolfs”. I know that two people whose last name is Wolf are called “the Wolfs”. But something inside me screams “Wolves!” while the rest of me knows I should say Wolfs.

Both those times, what started out as a normal introduction ended in a mush-mouthed, elongated version of this couple’s perfectly acceptable last name. “Wolfs” and “Wolves” battled along the short path between my brain and my mouth. The fight was never quite over by the time I got through the “these are the…” part and I had to say their name. And so that name came out as something like “Wooolfvvfzs’s”

I don’t know why this keeps happening. The convention of how to refer to more than one person with that particular last name is clear. It is also clear that neither half of this couple is an actual wolf (with a small w) so they should never be referred to as the Wolves.

Every Problem Has A Solution

Because I’m having this problem, I’m calling for a linguistic change. One wolf, whether two or four-legged, will always be a wolf. But this foolishness about different pluralization rules for different species, even when they’re spelled the same way, has to stop.

Either re-label packs of the four-legged variety of wolf as wolfs or we tell every family whose last name is Wolf  that they are now The Wolves.

Or The Wooolfvvfzs’s.

I’ll leave it to you to settle the matter. I don’t care which option you settle upon, I just need it done, now. My transition from social awkwardness to less social awkwardness rests with you.

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20 Comments on “Wolfs Versus Wolves”

  1. Mike says:

    Don’t make this MY Problem!

  2. Betty says:

    How about saying, “I’d like you to meet Dick and Jane Wolf”. 😀

  3. Laughing Dragon says:

    Wolves. They are and they will be a wolf each, so they’re wolves together. Done and done.

  4. If my surname was Wolf I would insist that people referred to my and my wife as the Wolves, and of course, if the kids were with us we’d just be spending quality time together as a pack!

    • omawarisan says:

      I think that would just be the right thing to do. Sure, it would cause some confusion when your first few friends adopted what you were doing and told friends they were taking their kids to the Wolves’ house, but they’d adjust.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I used to socialize at a bar where I became friends with a couple with the last name of Pygmy. His first name was Buddy and her’s was Ima. Another time I met a woman named Sharon at the same bar. She introduced herself by saying ” hi! I’m Sharon Abanister. I said ” that’s nice! With anyone I would know? I stopped drinking at that bar after meeting Mary Sticky.

  6. LRose says:

    My parents had an old Shelly Burman (comedian) album of his stand up act–you know, those things they had before HBO and Com. Ctrl Specials–in which he wrestled with the same issue. As a kid I had some of it memorized. I just looked it up online and someone posted a transcript:

    “I just want to say just a few words about stewardii. They have…(audience laughter)… Stewardii is plural for Stewardess. Uh…I think there are many incongruities in the English language as far as plurals are concerned. For example, it seems to me that the plural for Yo-yo should be Yo-yi. How about, one sheriff; several sheriffim. Um…one goof; a group of geef; uh…one Kleenex, several Kleenices; one Blouse, two Blice ……..Two Jackii.”

  7. List of X says:

    Maybe it would make it easier for you to talk to someone if you just imagine that this person is heavily armed.

  8. I would refer to them as “The Wolf family.” Let people draw their own conclusions.

  9. Dan Hen says:

    You’ll never solve this problem . By the way , Wolf Blitzer’s actual last name if Wolf. Most people don’t know that .

  10. pegoleg says:

    Just introduce them as the Wolf Pack.


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