Potatoes or potatos – which version is correct?
Potatoes or potatos? Do you sometimes wonder what the difference between the two is? Let’s clear up your doubts and then celebrate over a delicious potato dinner!
Potatoes or potatos – which form is correct?
Potatoes is the only correct plural form of the noun potato. It belongs to a group of nouns that end with –o and take the plural ending –es.
Other examples include tomatoes, heroes, or torpedoes.
A humble yet vital veggie
The word potato derives from Spanish patata. Potatoes were first cultivated in South America and arrived in Europe in the 16th century. They gradually gained immense popularity, as they are easy to farm, satisfy hunger and can be stored for a long time. Nowadays, potatoes are essential for many cuisines all over the world. Understandably, they also feature prominently in literature and everyday language.
Potatoes or potatos? It’s all clear! Potatoes in literature
‘Stinking potatoes fouled the land,
pits turned pus into filthy mounds:
and where potato diggers are
you still smell the running sore.’
Seamus Heaney, ‘At a Potato Digging’, 1966
“‘Sméagol won’t go, O no precious, not this time’ hissed Gollum. (…) ‘Sméagol won’t grub for roots and carrotses — and taters. What’s taters, precious, eh, what’s taters?’
‘Po — ta — toes,’ said Sam. ‘The Gaffer’s delight, and rare good ballast for an empty belly. (…) I’ll cook you some taters one of these days. I will: fried fish and chips served by S. Gamgee.’”
J. R. R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings. The Two Towers, 1954
Potatoes in everyday language
The above-mentioned taters, next to Scottish taties and Australian spuds, are informal versions of the word. Lazy people can be called couch potatoes; hot potatoes are controversial issues everybody tries to avoid, and if you are mouse potatoes, you probably spend too much time in front of your computer. So have a break now and enjoy some mashed, jacket or sauté potatoes, or at least have a plate of chips!