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Red Editing Pen December 2017
  • In the December Issue, Richard Bell writes that 'sacksful' is an incorrect plural of sackful. He argues that the correct plural is 'sackfuls'. However, this usage is open to debate. Oxford Dictionary states that sackfuls is the correct plural, but Merriam-Webster, Wiktionary, and other dictionary sources give both forms as acceptable plurals. It may be that placing the s at the end of *ful words is standard British usage, but I am not sure the matter is clear cut. What do others in the forum think?
  • Is it the same rule as with sisters-in-law, because it's definitely NOT sister-in-laws.
  • I think because 'sackful' is all one word and used as a measure it probably should be sackfuls, - ha the editor on here wants to change that to sacksful! - whereas you would say three sacks full, where you are describing a number of sacks that are full rather than the amount that would fill three sacks. Same applies to spoonfuls. But I don't consider the other way to be wrong - just less usual now.

    With sister-in-law they are still separate words but linked so it's not the same.
  • Thanks Heather