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Moneys, Monies, or Funds

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.

Syntax Training

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By Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston has helped thousands of employees and managers improve their business writing skills and confidence through her company, Syntax Training. In her corporate training career of more than 20 years, she has worked with executives, engineers, scientists, sales staff, and many other professionals, helping them get their messages across with clarity and tact.

A gifted teacher, Lynn has led writing classes at more than 100 companies and organizations such as MasterCard, Microsoft, Boeing, Nintendo, REI, AARP, Ledcor, and Kaiser Permanente. Near her home in Seattle, Washington, she has taught managerial communications in the MBA programs of the University of Washington and UW Bothell. She has created a communications course, Business Writing That Builds Relationships, and provides the curriculum at no cost to college instructors.

A recognized expert in business writing etiquette, Lynn has been quoted in "The Wall Street Journal," "The Atlantic," "Vanity Fair," and other media.

Lynn sharpened her business writing skills at the University of Notre Dame, where she earned a master's degree in communication, and at Bradley University, with a bachelor's degree in English.

4 comments on “Moneys, Monies, or Funds”

  • Hi Lynn! I work for a grant making foundation and we use money or funds, but never moneys or monies. One of my pet peeves is when people use ‘disperse’ instead of ‘disburse,’ although I do enjoy the visual that comes with ‘disperse.’ 🙂

  • Hi, Patty. Thanks for telling us which terms your foundation uses. I wrote about “disperse” and “disburse” when I realized a few years ago that I had it wrong. You probably know “disburse” comes from the French word for purse. If it had come from English, it would probably be “dispurse”!


  • Both “money” and “moneys”, as well as “monies”, are uncountable, singular or plural nouns. Because they are uncountable, one cannot say “I have seven moneys in my pocket. “Disbursing the moneys” is a faulty usage by folks who want to (ungrammatically) sound important.(opinion) It strikes me that there is an alternative definition for money that is countable, in referring to the particular money issued by a state. So, if you are referring to a collection that includes dollars, Euros, rupees and rands, one might refer to a collection of “moneys”. (Monies tends to be used more legalistically, I believe.)
    It’s a little like the plural of fish. If you have three of the same kind of fish, you have fish. But, if you have a flounder, a tuna and a salmon, you have fishes.
    Same with cheese/cheeses, for another example.

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