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Plural of Genus: A Comprehensive Guide

plural of genus

In both everyday language and the specialized discourse of biology, the term “genus” holds significant importance. It’s a word that crosses the boundary between common parlance and the complex taxonomy of biological classification, often leading to confusion regarding its proper plural form. Understanding the plural of “genus” is not just an exercise in academic rigor but a necessity for clear communication in scientific contexts and beyond.

The Singular and Plural of “Genus”

  • Singular Form: Genus
  • Plural Form: Genera

The singular form of this word is “genus,” pronounced /ˈdʒiː.nəs/. When referring to more than one, the correct plural form is “genera,” pronounced /ˈdʒen.ər.ə/. This transformation from “genus” to “genera” follows a pattern seen in other Latin-derived English words, where the original Latin plural is retained or adapted into English usage.

irregular plural nouns

Understanding “Genus”

Definition of “Genus”

A "genus" is a rank in the biological classification (taxonomy) that comes above species and below family. It groups together species that are closely related and share a common ancestor. The name of a genus is always capitalized and italicized (e.g., Homo, Canis).

Usage of “Genus”

The usage of “genus” extends beyond the confines of biology textbooks. It permeates discussions in biodiversity, conservation, and even in the naming of new species. The term is foundational for the scientific naming of organisms (binomial nomenclature), where each species is given a two-part name consisting of its genus and species descriptor.

Use of “Genus” in Sentences

  1. In the genus Canis, several species including wolves, dogs, and coyotes are classified together due to their shared characteristics.
  2. Botanists have discovered a new species within the Orchis genus, highlighting the diversity within this group of plants.
  3. The classification of pandas has long been debated, but they are now firmly placed in the genus Ailuropoda.
  4. Studying the Homo genus provides valuable insights into human evolution and the traits that distinguish us from other primates.
  5. The genus Rosa encompasses a wide variety of roses, from wild species to the cultivated varieties adorning gardens worldwide.

Common Mistakes and Confusions

  • Mispronunciation: The correct pronunciation of “genera” often trips up those unfamiliar with Latin roots.
  • Incorrect Pluralization: Using “genuses” instead of “genera” is a common error, stemming from the tendency to apply regular English pluralization rules to Latin terms.
  • Misuse in Singular/Plural Contexts: Confusion arises when distinguishing between the use of “genus” and “genera” in scientific writing and discussions.

Commonly Asked Questions

  • Why is “genuses” not the correct plural?
    Genuses” is incorrect because “genus” comes from Latin, where many nouns have unique plural forms. English retains this Latin pluralization for certain terms, especially in scientific contexts.
  • Can “genus” and “genera” be used interchangeably?
    No, “genus” is singular, and “genera” is plural. They refer to one or multiple groups of related species, respectively.
  • How do you decide when to use “genus” or “genera”?
    The choice depends on the number of groups being referred to. If discussing a single group, use “genus.” For multiple groups, “genera” is appropriate.


The distinction between “genus” and “genera” is emblematic of the precision required in scientific language and highlights the importance of understanding the plural forms of specialized terms. By mastering these nuances, one can communicate more effectively in scientific discussions and appreciate the rich linguistic heritage of the biological sciences. Ensuring clarity in the usage of such terms not only facilitates better communication but also deepens our understanding of the natural world.


What are the common rules for forming plurals of nouns?

The common rules for forming plurals of nouns include adding an “s” or “es” at the end, using unique forms for irregular plural nouns, keeping words ending in “o” or “i” the same or changing them, altering words with Latin or Greek roots, and changing the internal vowel sound of certain words.

What are some examples of plural forms of “genus”?

In the field of biology, you may encounter examples like “the genera of magnolias” or “multiple species within the genus Coelodonta.” Another example can be found in linguistic discussions of gender, where terms like “masculine” and “feminine” are referred to as “genera.”

How do I form the plural of “genus”?

In academic writing, the most appropriate term is “genera.” However, “genuses” is also an acceptable plural form. The choice of plural form depends on the context in which it is used.

Jessica Smith

Jessica Smith

Jessica Smith, writer at, blends creativity with insight, exploring technology, culture, and psychology. With a background in English Literature, she crafts engaging stories inspired by nature and urban life. Outside writing, she enjoys exploring and continuous learning.View Author posts

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