Mice and Mouses

The plural form of the word ‘mouse’ is ‘mice’, whether it is the natural mouse or the computer mouse. In order to distinguish between them, the word ‘mouses’ should have been coined for the computer mouse, while referring to more than one.

So, when you say
‘There are three mice in the room’ you mean the natural, and

when you say
‘There are three mouses in the room’ you mean the computer mouse.

What do you say?

I hope that’s a joke.

Yes, it was a good suggestion jokingly put forward during a recent discussion on illogical coinage of words in languages.

***** NOT A TEACHER *****

Hello, T.H.:

  1. I am an old man who does not work in an office with computers.

  2. I have, however, long heard that many Americans refer to computer “mouses.”

  3. I did some googling, and there are many reputable sources that say either “mice” or “mouses” is correct.

  4. Personally, although I am computer illiterate, I would always use “mouses.”

  5. To me, it would sound humorous to tell the manager:

“We’re having problems with the mice this morning.”

She might reply: “OK. I’ll get a cat.”


I would never use ‘mouses’.
They are computer mice.

As with other words which carry two meaning, context is the key to understanding. I wonder what the person who put forward the original suggestion would do to differentiate between the singular mouse.

It seems that the term ‘computer mouses’ has become pretty popular though.[YSaerTTEW443543]

TOEIC listening, question-response: How much do those headphones cost?[YSaerTTEW443543]

Never heard it used here.

Thank you, James and Torsten. In fact I never knew that it was already in use. Anyhow I am very happy that it is not a joke. I think we had better not laugh anything off when we do not know it.

That’s a pertinent doubt. But it is for the native users to invent a suitable word in order to avoid the ambiguity, if a suggestion from others cannot be appreciated.

And contextualization may not be possible, always.

There is such a term available:

computer mice.

In my neck of the woods, I seem to hear and read both ‘mice’ and ‘mouses’ when referring to the computer accessory with which one clicks. :slight_smile: However, it does seem that ‘mice’ is used a lot more often.

I think it’s a good idea to differentiate between “mice” used in high tech contexts and other contexts.
Because “computer mice” sounds like a pest problem.

I 99% agree with Mr. lawrence.

Bees if you refute what he says kindly giive me which kind of mice I want to point here?

–The mice in the house, are getting on Mr. Ben’s nerves! this morning.

Ebenezer Adu, I’m afraid your post doesn’t make any sense again. Bev has already said that she only accepts ‘mice’ for both the computer mouse as well as the animal. So what exactly do you want to know? Also, ‘point here’ should be ‘put here’ in your sentence. Thanks, Torsten[YSaerTTEW443543]

TOEIC listening, question-response: What’s the matter with the air conditioning?[YSaerTTEW443543]

Never be afraid brethren, It seems you rather did not comprehend what I meant to put across.

Bees made it clear here that, mice could be used for a computer mouse(as its plural form) as well the natural mouse(as its plural form), while Mr. lawrence is also saying, to prevent ambiguity, the plural of mouse(the natural animal) should be separated from the computer mouse we all know. While Bees tells us that, it is within a context, that one can know whether it is talking of a computer mouse or the natural mouse.
While Mr. lawrence made it clear that not in all contexts would it be possible for one to know whether it is talking of a computer mice or the natural mice. That made me to write that example, so that Bees would give me or show me which mice I am talking of.

It seems your failure to read that successive exchange of words above made my question incomprehensible to you.

Well perhaps I am visually impaired.

You seemed to understand what I said when I pointed out that c ontext would indocate which type of mouse was being spoken abouyt. Your isolated sentence contains no context. However, if you wished to reverse your argument and say:
The mouses in the house, are getting on Mr. Ben’s nerves this morning! (I’ve corrected your punctuation.)
I can tell you exactly what I would think.
I would think that you are ignorant of the plural form of ‘mouse’ - and would still be none the wiser without context as to which mice you meant. You might mean a rodent, a computer peripheral, a shy, quiet person or a sugar confectionery product!

I was having problems with my computers in the room. The mice were creating the problems for me. As I was unable to work, I sent for a computer engineer. He found that the connecting cord had been broken. ‘How could this happen?’ I asked. The mice were creating the problems for you, he said. Errrrrrrrr… Oh! I see.

Hi T H L,

Let it go. The Welsh wizard will fight to the death.

Thank you, Alan. We will close the chapter of ‘fastidiousness’. Bye!

An allusion but still understood. :slight_smile: