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khalulu, kanji

khalulu in hp_britglish

plurals of roof and hoof


I was looking for rhymes for "hooves" and somewhere listed "rooves". (There were a lot of listings of words like "proves" as rhymes for "hooves", but for me the vowel in hooves is like the vowel in hook, not in who, so that doesn't work. I can pronounce roof with either vowel.)

I'm used to "roofs" as a plural of roof, but online I see that there are people who feel strongly that "rooves" is correct - but I don't know when or where they learned it. Alternatively, some people may use hoofs as the plural of hoof.

Any guesses as to how Harry or Draco, say, would make those (roof and hoof) plural, and whether those plurals could rhyme?

ETA: Thanks everyone! It seems like the vowel sounds are not an issue for most respondents, in which case I could use moves, proves, grooves. (Maybe as an American, non-horsey person, I just don't pronounce hoof like most British people would.)

I'm not trying to say any pronunciation is correct or not, just to find out who might use what. Descriptive not prescriptive. You say potayto, I say potahto. (If you have a few minutes, you might enjoy seeing Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers sing that and tap-dance on roller skates, or listening to Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong sing it.)


For me, the vowel is exactly the same, but it is definitely "roofs" - back in the 1950s all my teachers were very definite that "rooves" was wrong.

Incidentally, my predictive speller wouldn't recognise "rooves" and tried to turn it into "roves".
I'm from Southern England and I would say 'rooves' as the plural and I would pronounce it to rhyme with 'proves'. I didn't know this was wrong! And I can't imagine hooves said like the oo in hook, either. For me they all rhyme with proves.
Yes, that I've heard it always has the same o as in who or in proves, here in the UK. And I'd say roofs.

Off the top of my head the only fairly close rhyme for hooves I can think of is behoves - if you say "It behoves X to do so-and-so" it means "It would be appropriate if X did so-and-so".

Or you could say hoofs - many people would - and rhyme it with roofs, at least loosely!

In the long term, if you run into this sort of problem a lot I highly recommend Frances Stillman's book "The Poet's Manual and Rhyming Dictionary"/.
Thanks! Behooves is possible, but if the vowel has the same sound I guess I can also use moves/proves/grooves.

I know of rhyming dictionaries, but as I'm writing in a character's voice, I have to know how that character would hear a rhyme, since my dialect is different. That's where this community is so helpful.
Oh, of course you're right - how silly of me. I was so busy thinking of rare words I forgot the common ones. Yes, in most British accents moves and proves rhyme with hooves.

"Soothes" would also be a pretty close match.
I wouldn't say it's wrong, it's just different! Thanks. (If the vowel is the same, it's easier to rhyme.)
I had never encountered the US pronunciation of "hoof" until I watched My Little Pony, and it took me a few goes to work out what vowel I was hearing.

Both hoof and roof are words I try to avoid pluralising in front of people, because people are very definite about which way is wrong and I don't want to admit ignorance - or switch back and forth and manage to be wrong both ways.
I don't think it's a question of right and wrong, it's just different.
Dwarfs or dwarves is another one,
But that case is entirely due to J R R Tolkien, who invented the plural dwarves, which previously hadn't existed. He wanted to differentiate his concept of the 'dwarf' from folklore (and presumably, though he didn't actually mention this, from real-life short humans) and invented 'dwarves', which he maintained was a more 'regular' development from the Old English than the standard Modern English 'dwarfs'.
I've always said roofs but hooves. OED does not list 'rooves' as a plural for roof, not even as a non-normative variant, though, incidentally, both 'hoofs' and 'hooves' seem to be acceptable. So you have the option of rhyming roofs and hoofs.

Rooves features in the online OED, though with fewer citations. I think that I would spell it roofs, but say something that sounded more like rooves and rhyme hooves, roofs, and proves.
Really? That's interesting, because it's only roofs in my version (admittedly I am only using the free one). My Compact Oxford (published in 1996) marks rooves as 'disputed' and in some other sources it's marked as 'obsolete'.

They would all rhyme, in a fashion, to me as well - the way I say it there's an [u:] in all of these words. The consonants do sound different though.

Edited at 2016-08-15 10:35 am (UTC)
That's me - obsolete ;D

I've spelt it both rooves and roofs, always pronounce it rooves, and the only time I can actually remember being corrected on it was once at school, where I used roofs as the plural (not that that instance is conclusive in any way)
Clearly, there are a lot of 'obsolete' people around :) It can't really be that if it's in use, whatever its status otherwise.
I agree!

A lot of people here in the US seem to think that pronouncing wh- differently from w- is obsolete (which/witch), but I've always done it.
I'll be obsolete along with you, for different reasons, thanks!
From London, and I pronounce to rhyme with proves - but spell it 'roofs'. I think that's what I do anyway. Strangely, I'm struggling to come up with examples of needing a plural for roof.
I agree with you (from London originally too)
I'm the same, but from Berkshire (mum was from London though).

As I work for a housebuilder, the plural does come up frequently!
"The roofs were all covered with red tiles."
I have spent my life between Northamptonshire, London and Kent. For me, roof and hoof in the singular rhyme with each other - a long vowel sound rhyming also with aloof and pouffe - but in the plural they are roofs and hooves. Spelt differently, pronounced differently. (And yes, hooves rhymes with moves, proves, grooves.) I have come across people, who say and write hoofs (not horsey people though - in my experience horsey people say hooves), but none who use rooves.

To me, rooves looks and sounds as odd as hoofs does. (In fact I can remember as a child wondering why this was so: 'If the plural of mouse is mice, why is the plural of house not hice? if the plural of hoof is hooves, why is the plural of roof not rooves?' But it was a given for me that it was so.
And surely the plural of moose should be meese?

Now, I grew up in London and Middlesex - partly on a riding stable - and I've lived in Kent, Chester, Edinburgh, Livingston and Falkirk. To me when I say them out loud "roof" and "hoof" don't *quite* rhyme. "Roof" for me rhymes with "aloof", and "hoof" can be pronounced the same way but often, when speaking aloud, I would pronounce "hoof" with the vowel slightly blurred, moving towards becoming a schwa. Somewhere midway between "oof" and "uff".

So, yes, that's similar I guess to your idea of having a similar vowel to "hook". But "hoofs" usually has a long "oo" as in "aloof", and "hooves" always has.

Edited at 2016-08-16 06:21 am (UTC)
Interesting that the vowel changes for the plural! I have a couple of words - roof, root - where I sometimes pronounce them like boot and sometimes like put. Route is sometimes like boot and sometimes like out.
Now I would understound route to rhyme with boot as a method of getting from one place to another, and rout rhyming with out as a disorderly retreat by a defeated army, or a very rowdy dance party. But then there's a piece of computer equipment called a router which rhymes with boot, and a tool called a router which rhymes with out.
Disorderly retreat rout always rhymes with out, but route (though rhyming with boot in the song, "I get my kicks on Route 66") can also be pronounced like out for me, as in paper route. I hear it both ways in the states, free variation.

Edited at 2016-08-16 04:06 pm (UTC)
Here it would always be a paper "root".

Edited at 2016-08-16 04:18 pm (UTC)
My partner and I pluralise hoof as heef, but that's specific to us, I think.

It would be unremarkable for rooves and hooves to be treated as rhymes in most English dialects.
:D And perhaps beef is the plural of boof?

I pluralise octopus as octokitties, but that's just me.
I'm from the Midlands and would say "roofs", though it isn't a word you'd typically hear.

I'd probably use "rooftops" in conversation.

Not much help for your rhyming, I'm afraid!
You ask the best questions! As a non-native speaker of English, I wasn't even aware there was a spelling problem. We learned roof, pl. roofs, and hoof, pl. hooves in English class in Germany.
Our spelling is such a jumble!
From Kent. I don't pronounce roof and hoof as the same - roof has a longer vowel sound, more like rewf, with the plural definitely roofs, (or rewfs). The plural of hoof is hoofs or hooves, with the second having a longer oo than the singular form.

Have you thought of grooves as an alternative rhyme? Hooves would definitely rhyme with it!
Thanks! Now that I know the vowel you all use for hooves over there, grooves/moves/proves become possible. Sounds like you pronounce hoof more like I do. I can pronounce roof (and root) either way. Actually, I have two pronunciations for "either" also.