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Pedants' corner

Bowlsful/ bowlfuls

(51 Posts)
MrsKen33 Fri 02-Dec-22 03:15:54

I have just had a document corrected by a professional proofreader. I wrote “He ate three bowlsful of soup” and she corrected it to ‘bowlfuls’. Who is right?

FannyCornforth Fri 02-Dec-22 03:22:14

‘Morning Ken smile
After a bit of googling, I’d say you both were.
I would have used ‘bowlfuls’ as you did, but thinking about it; ‘bowlsful’ makes more sense etymologically.
And if I were saying it, I would use the latter (I think!)

Autocorrect doesn’t like ‘bowlsful’ though!

FannyCornforth Fri 02-Dec-22 03:23:28

Oh no! I’ve got that mixed up haven’t I? Sorry
It makes you head spin, doesn’t it!

FannyCornforth Fri 02-Dec-22 03:24:21

Bowlsful. That’s my final answer

Bigred18 Fri 02-Dec-22 04:43:01

Bowls full!

BlueBelle Fri 02-Dec-22 05:07:42

Bowlfuls for me or ‘three bowls full’

MrsKen33 Fri 02-Dec-22 05:42:25

Morning Fanny; thanks.
Yes I think bowlsful is right as the bowls are plural not the ful. If you see what I mean.
She also likes ‘on the weekend’ and not ‘at’.

FannyCornforth Fri 02-Dec-22 06:01:21

Oh no! That sounds awful!
It’s a new thing isn’t it - ‘on the weekend’?
It sounds rather uneducated to me (excuse me if I sound snobby)

MrsKen33 Fri 02-Dec-22 06:42:37

No I agree Fanny. I have crossed it out and said ‘ revert to original.

sodapop Fri 02-Dec-22 07:18:24

Definitely bowls full for me like daughters in law and not daughter in laws.

Georgesgran Fri 02-Dec-22 08:14:59

Bowlsful - same as Soda
Maybe easier to have written that he ate three full bowls of soup?

ParlorGames Fri 02-Dec-22 08:21:32

Bowls full. It is the bowl that is in the plural but how ever many there are they are only each full once surely. I agree with Georgesgran......that would have prevented so much confusion.

MawtheMerrier Fri 02-Dec-22 08:32:25

When in doubt, I am known to take the easy way out
- as in why specify the bowls were full anyway?
“He ate three bowls of soup” sounds fine to me - like “Come round for a bowl of soup”
Sorted grin

Esspee Fri 02-Dec-22 08:33:09

You were correct OP. Bowlsful.

NotSpaghetti Fri 02-Dec-22 08:35:59

Whether bowlfuls is right or not it certainly sounds and looks ugly to me.

I prefer at the weekend too.
But could say "on weekends they..." for example

Oldnproud Fri 02-Dec-22 08:45:31

A 'bowlful', written as one word, is a singular noun.

Thinking about it, I don't think it makes sense to pluralize a singular (unhyphenated) noun by inserting an 's' in the middle, so i would make the plural 'bowlfuls', adding the 's' on the end in exactly the same way as I would with any other quantity, such as ounces, gallons etc.

Alternatively, I might go with 'three bowls full', or 'three full bowls'.

Oldnproud Fri 02-Dec-22 08:52:30

But I admit that I've regularly said 'bowlsful / 'cupsful' etc. in everyday speech, always slightly unsure of which was correct but have never stopped to think about it properly until now. 😁

eazybee Fri 02-Dec-22 10:00:24

The cookery mistress at school always insisted on spoonsful; don't remember any discussion about bowls.

Grannybags Fri 02-Dec-22 10:03:35

It's a "bowls full" from me!

Baggs Fri 02-Dec-22 10:03:53

Eliminate the problem by saying "bowls of..."

I'd say bowlsful is right 'technically' but bowlfuls is 'right' in that it's probably what most people say if they don't say bowls of.

Witzend Fri 02-Dec-22 10:04:11

I think I’d just say 3 bowls of soup. Or ‘3 full bowls’ would avoid the dilemma.

Baggs Fri 02-Dec-22 10:08:48

If the fulness of the bowls needs to be stressed one could say three brimming bowls of soup.

Oldbat1 Fri 02-Dec-22 10:16:34

Bowls full definitely. The other way to me would be the American way. (I cannot settle to read any American book - am I allowed to say that?).

Callistemon21 Fri 02-Dec-22 10:25:59

I'd change my proof reader.
Proofreader.

JaneJudge Fri 02-Dec-22 10:28:54

I would just say he had three bowls of soup

bowl is a funny word isn't it?