So I have these poems and I gathered them all up and arranged them and gave them a name and now they're a little unit. A book. I gave the book to Brandon to read and he was kind enough to make notes. Real handwritten notes. Thanks, B. One of the things Brandon noted was the prevalence of the word hoes. It appears a lot. I blame Nicoloff.

So about these hos. And the plural. Is it HOS or HOES? Adding an "e" was my natural inclination. But I'm not talking about the tool here. I mean, I am, that too. Or, both. But I like the short snap of "hos" sans "e," and the visual rhyme you get with Bros before hos and other charming colloquialisms.

What words are there in English that end in a vowel and don't get an "es" when pluralized? What's the rule anyway? When we're talking about slang, should we look for a rule or instead look at embodied usage? Is this a question about language use in general?

And so went the general tenor of our dinner conversation on Shotwell Street. Over a salad of celery root, apple and arugula. And Nina Simone. Very civilized! Brandon thought relaying the story would make a charming blog post. I don't think I'm pulling it off. Oops. Sorry.

The internet is all over the map. Hos.com will take you to something called "Hearts of Space," while hoes.com takes you you know where. Most of the articles on the Don Imus scandal spell the disgusting Rutgers remark without an "e". Hip-hop lyric sites are no help either. Do y'all have a preference?


Blogger Jennifer Manzano said...

"ho 2 (hō) Pronunciation Key
n. pl. hos
Slang A prostitute."


"Main Entry:
Inflected Form(s):
plural hos or hoes
alteration of whore

slang : whore"


Yeah, no help. I was trying to think of other nouns that end in vowels to see what they do, but I couldn't even think of any nouns that end in vowels.

As for "ho," I generally add the "e." "Hos" always makes me want to say "hoss," which internet dictionaries define as "1815, representing U.S. dialectal variant pronunciation of horse," which might be a good thing. "Hoes" is a bit too close to the garden tool, and I hope that you've come up with a good sex joke for that one, because I'm stuck.

While I do blame my being concerned about the spelling of it on Nicoloff, I'm not sure if I've ever heard him say "ho" in any form. The funny thing is, if "ho" were to pop up in my vocabulary more than normal, I'd definitely be pointing fingers at Brandon. Fo Sho

04 February, 2009  
Blogger Matt said...

Maybe "ho's". I think the improper use of a comma would be fitting since it's slang anyway. "Hoes" does make me think of the garden tool.

Uvulas. Martinis. Mentos. (Do those count as English words?)

The music on Hearts of Space is very relaxing. The announcer is cheesy, but no less relaxing.

04 February, 2009  
Blogger BB said...

oh what the FUCK Manzano?

04 February, 2009  
Blogger Jennifer Manzano said...

Yeah, BB? Go ahead, call me a ho. I triple-dog-dare you.

(can we fight on the internet for 3 days, and then have a whiskey together on Friday to make up? That sounds great...)

04 February, 2009  
Blogger K. Silem Mohammad said...

I vote for "hos."

04 February, 2009  
Blogger Nada said...

My preference?

I suppose I prefer

nautch girls
and even so-called comfort women

and so on.

but only when I have the money.

04 February, 2009  
Blogger Joseph said...

Well "pornos" doesn't use an e...

04 February, 2009  
Blogger Nicoloff said...

Being that I've been dubbed the ho-source, and am indeed a copyeditor, perhaps I should weigh in. AP Style has yet to reach a consensus. "Hos," "hoes," and "ho's" are all in general use. Not sure if the Chicago Manual addresses this, nor if it would, but its good friend, the Merriam-Webster dictionary, which Jenn has so kindly cut-pasted above, has "hos" appearing first, making it a likely go-to choice for those freaks in book publishing. But it would vary. You have free rein. And I have no preference.

04 February, 2009  
Blogger BB said...

Hey Jennifer, yes we are in a big fight, but I'm not going to call you a "ho" because, uh, despite your basically suggesting that I walk around dropping H bombs at every woman I see, in fact I'm not in practice of calling anybody a ho. So I don't see any reason to debase myself in public by getting into it like that with you.


05 February, 2009  
Blogger BB said...

and p.s. I actually think Mosconi makes a good argument.

05 February, 2009  
Blogger rodney k said...

O Alli please launch/debut/hardsell this "unit" in Portland in late Feb. ... Can we be the world launch?

06 February, 2009  
Blogger K. Silem Mohammad said...

Or Ashland, since it's on the way?

06 February, 2009  
Blogger bill said...

Ho Hos ® - Another San Francisco Treat

Apparently, rice isn't the only San Francisco treat. The history of Hostess Ho Hos dates back to 1967, when a San Francisco bakery began hand-producing the Swiss-filled chocolate cakes elegantly enrobed in delectable confectionary coating.

Over the years, the tubular snack has enjoyed its share of laughs. In connection with the 1999 introduction of Nutty Ho Hos, which added chopped peanuts to the original roll, a search was launched for the country's nuttiest celebrity laugh - or ho ho. (We know what you're thinking, but not everyone laughs with a ha ha. Just ask Santa.) When the votes were tallied, Americans decided that comedian Eddie Murphy's laugh took the proverbial cake, followed by the kooky cackles of Phyllis Diller, Roseanne Barr and Pee Wee Herman.

11 February, 2009  

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