I was listening to a news show on TV tonight, when I heard Donald Trump talking about hiring 10 "apprenti." He pronounced that final word ah-PREN-tie.
It is possible that Mr. Trump believes the plural of apprentice is apprenti. If so, I am here to correct him.
But I will not do so without first checking my sources.
Too often people write to me to complain about the grammar, punctuation, and usage errors of others, when in fact, they themselves are misinformed. I do not want to fall into that trap.
That is why I looked up apprentice in three dictionaries, including the Canadian Oxford Dictionary, to be certain that apprenti is not a correct plural form. I confirmed that the plural of apprentice is apprentices–not apprenti.
The word is not like syllabus and hippopotamus, whose plurals are syllabi and syllabuses, hippopotami and hippopotamuses.
In my research I learned that apprenti is the French word for "apprentice." Maybe the French influenced Mr. Trump.
I was especially careful about correcting Mr. Trump's language because of an assumption I had made earlier today, when I was reviewing a business writing sample for an upcoming class. The sample used the term on-site. I was sure onsite was correct, but I was not sure enough to make a note without checking my dictionaries and a style guide. I learned I was wrong. On-site is correct.
Lesson learned: Before assuming someone has made an error and correcting it, be sure you yourself are correct.
What business writing rule have you been wrong about lately? Please share, and we will all learn something.