Today I led a business writing class at a bank, an institution whose work revolves around money–or is it monies?
A participant in the class, whom I will call Jim, noted that his manager uses the term monies when referring to funds being disbursed. Jim wondered whether the term money would be sufficient.
In my 20+ years of teaching business writing, I have never before been asked this question, and I was not sure of the answer. Here is what I found in my research this evening:
The collective noun money works fine in this sample sentence: The money should be disbursed.
The regular plural form of the noun is moneys. However, monies, an irregular plural form (irregular because it does not follow normal rules for forming plurals), is also common in legal documents and banking. Both of these are correct:
The moneys should be disbursed.
The monies should be disbursed.
To answer Jim's question, in Garner's Modern American Usage, Bryan Garner explains, "Moneys is frequently used, especially in financial and legal contexts, to denote 'discrete sums of money' or 'funds.' "
The Gregg Reference Manual recommends, "To avoid the use of either plural, simply write funds." I like that approach, but I believe funds can have a different meaning from moneys (or monies) in certain situations; for example, retirement funds are not always the same as retirement monies.
Which term does your company use for discrete sums of money? Moneys? Monies? Funds? Or simply money? Please share your experience.