MUSINGS ABOUT "MONIES"

By

Carol Ann Wilson

I fail to see why lawyers insist on writing the plural of "money" like this. The plural "attornies" would be amiss and even the most rigid would boo and hiss. Yet documents galore in offices and courts, talk about "monies" in contracts and torts. Whenever I see it, I just think "Abort!" But reason in form files sometimes falls short. In all dictionaries, "moneys" is preferred; to resort to "monies" is really absurd. Yet lawyers continue, in spite of correction, to use the word "monies"–total imperfection. The rules are clear: add "s" when the word ends in "y" preceded by "e." But I still have to wonder: what's the need for any plural of "money"? Money is money, if it's one or it's many; a dollar or a million, or even a penny; So what would be the time or a need for the plural? Can you think of any? Now, if just by chance, my office relents, and comes around to good common sense, Cleaning up all forms, with enlightened intent, I will then dance with total abandonment. For others will follow, as legions get smart, and realize "monies" was only an art, An archaic habit, neither reasoned nor sane. Let's adhere to the rules and not be mundane. So my "moneys" quest will put me to the test, and till it is done, I never will rest; And when I am through my next one will be to eliminate "Via" on notations of delivery!

December 1996

I wrote this poem after an especially frustrating week, when it seemed that "monies" was in everything that crossed my desk. That included some documents my own boss prepared, and he "corrected" it on his draft back to me. I, of course, typed it as he instructed, and then put a copy of the poem in his mail to take home that evening.

The next day, it came back to me with this excellent note:

Carol:

Your ode to moneys is quite good,

So I consulted my dictionary to learn

what I could.

It stated in words quite plain to see

That either plural form of money

was acceptable equally.

 

Though others may wince if we use not

the traditional monies

I am willing to use the form moneys.

So from this day forth let it be,

That more than one money is moneys.