Learning languages can be a really exciting way to learn about a different culture, its country, and its people. However, language can also pose several challenges due to the fact that languages often do not follow their own rules. Anyone who has ever studied a second or even third language can attest to the fact that grammatical rules can be the most difficult part to learn. From complicated verb tenses to noun declensions that cover both singular, plural, gender, and case, to the lists of pronouns that older languages like Latin supply…in short, grammar is difficult.
English is widely considered to be one of the most difficult languages to learn just based on the fact that it tends to struggle with following most of its own rules. Part of the reason for this is that English borrows (or just completely steals) most of its grammar from other languages. English is an etymological mashup of several different languages, which causes several common grammar mistakes.
In this article, let’s explore our word of the day, “mosquito” (pronounced məˈskiːtəʊ), learn its proper use, how to use its plural, look for its synonyms, and learn its etymology and context.
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The first step in really understanding a word is to actually learn what a word means. Often, the best method for finding the meaning of a word is to find its dictionary definition. According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, the definition of mosquito is, “any of a family (Culicidae) of dipteran flies with females that have a set of slender organs in the proboscis adapted to puncture the skin of animals and to suck their blood and that are in some cases vectors of serious diseases.” Because the word describes such a specific small flying insect, there is really only one definition that fits.
Mosquitos can often carry diseases like yellow fever and malaria, so it’s important trying to avoid bites. A common collocation that might appear is a blood-sucking mosquito.
An important note to make is that language is driven by culture, not the other way around, and as such, the dictionary can never be the definitive authority on all things. Often, groups of people create words and then use them so often that they create new meanings; words that are not considered valid or correct often do become correct. As an example, as of now, there are no slang usages of the word mosquito considered widespread enough to include as a definition, but five years from now, there very well may be; the word selfie was added to several dictionaries due to how widespread its use got in the early two thousand tens.
Is Mosquito Singular or Plural?
Mosquito is a singular noun describing a singular individual mosquito. The noun is strictly a countable noun, meaning that to describe the plural, there must be more than one, and even when you describe a large group of plural mosquitoes, you still use the plural.
How Do you Spell Mosquitoes?
The thing that makes the English language so difficult to learn is the fact that it so often breaks its own rules. For example, in creating the past tense of verbs, you typically add “-d” or “-ed” to create the past tense. However, several words actually break this rule and create their own irregular past tenses. For example, the verb “to run” does not add a suffix; instead, it completely changes its spelling.
This is the case with nouns very often as well. While most nouns just add “-s” or “-es” to create a plural form, the plural of some nouns is irregular and involves changing spellings.
The plural of mosquito is spelled mosquitoes. However, the alternate form, mosquitos, is also considered to be acceptable depending on the context. And this is where English gets annoying because there really is no rule for when to use “-s” or “-es” that is widely followed; you just have to remember.
What Is the Meaning of Mosquito?
As defined above, a mosquito is any type of bug that is known to use its proboscis to suck the blood out of animals and humans. They are typically very small, have a very distinctly high-pitched whine when they fly nearby, and their bites itch like crazy.
The History and Origin of the Word
One of the best ways to understand a word is to learn where it came from. A word’s etymology can reveal a lot about the changes a word has gone through to get to where it is today in modern English. According to EtymOnline.com, the word mosquito was first used in the late sixteenth century and was derived from the Spanish word mosca, meaning fly, which in turn was derived from the Latin musca, also meaning fly.
This should come as no surprise because the majority of nouns in the Modern English language can be traced back to ancient languages such as Latin and Greek, while the majority of verbs come from more modern European languages such as Saxon, Old English, and Proto-Germanic.
Interestingly, while the English form of this word is quite different from the Czech
komár, the Italian zanzara, the Arabic البعوض, and the Turkish sivrisinek, but is similar to the Catalan mosquit, the Norwegian mygg and Danish myg, the Russian moskit, and the French moustique.
Examples of the Word in Context
Another great way to learn how to use a word is to explore the word being used correctly. Either reading the word in its proper context or hearing someone else use it in conversation. Here are some common example sentences of the word mosquito in context:
“Have they sprayed the neighborhood for mosquitoes yet? They were awful last year.”
“I went outside for an hour, and now I’m covered in mosquito bites.”
“I put a mosquito net over my bed to protect me while I sleep.”
Synonyms for Mosquito
Unfortunately, there really are no synonyms for mosquito in the thesaurus because the mosquito is such a specific noun. At the end of the day, though, learning words with similar definitions can be a valuable tool in learning how to properly use a word because it can really solidify that word’s meaning in your head. A similar bug might be a gnat or a midge, but these don’t bite like mosquitos.
Kevin Miller is a growth marketer with an extensive background in Search Engine Optimization, paid acquisition and email marketing. He is also an online editor and writer based out of Los Angeles, CA. He studied at Georgetown University, worked at Google and became infatuated with English Grammar and for years has been diving into the language, demystifying the do's and don'ts for all who share the same passion! He can be found online here.