Vort—

Snowflake the elf is in charge of monitoring weather conditions worldwide in order to help Santa plan his path of travel. Since this is a monumental job, he has a whole team of elves working with him, each specializing in the weather of a different geographic region.

The meteorologist elves get very excited when meteorological terms become widely used in common parlance. A few years ago, they were positively gleeful (but aren’t they always?) when the polar vortex overtook much of the United States, garnering so much attention on the news and in everyday conversation.

Snowflake and his team are so careful in their observation that they noted long before other meteorologists that more than one polar vortex was sweeping down across the northern United States this month. As they began to analyze this weather pattern, though, they ran into a problem—a linguistic one! You see, the elves weren’t sure of the plural of vortex. Vortexes? It just doesn’t sound right.

This morning, Snowflake got over his embarrassment about not knowing how to pluralize vortex and asked me how his team should express the plural of vortex. Not knowing how was causing them a great deal of confusion! I let them know that the plural is vortices. Vortex is from Latin, and it is a variant of vertex. While both vertices and vertexes are acceptable plurals of vertex, the Oxford English Dictionary reveals that vortices is the only way to pluralize vortex at this time.

Although I love learning about weather phenomena, meteorology is not my area of expertise. Still, I was able to help Snowflake and his team carry out their duties. Now that they know that the plural of vortex is vortices, they can communicate confidently about as many vortices as they wish! This might prove to be very important to the safety of Santa, the reindeer, and the entire delivery team on Christmas Eve.

When I was eight years old, I hoped to be a meteorologist when I grew up. Today’s work might be the closest I’ll get!

Me, pummeled by 2 polar vortices

Me, pummeled by 2 polar vortices

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