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Because who only eats one spaghetto?

Mike Pomranz
July 18, 2017

Another one of the many things that makes food amazing is the insight that it can give us into foreign cultures. My taste buds have certainly visited more countries than I have. And for the countries I have traveled to, many of the words I knew best in those foreign languages were the ones I learned from their cuisine. (If you’re not a master of French prepositions, you’re not eating out enough!)

At the same time, however, some foreign food words have become so much a part of American culture that we no longer appreciate their roots. For instance, the word “spaghetti.” The type of pasta has become such an integral part of American English, it’s practically synonymous with the word “noodle.” Except that it shouldn’t be… because “spaghetti” is technically plural. It’s actually more synonymous with “noodles.”

If that statement just blew your mind, don’t worry, you’re not alone. A few days ago, a Twitter user, Caro Ramsey, took the Twitterverse by storm simply by posting a screengrab from the Wiktionary page for “spaghetto”…

No, a “spaghetto” isn’t a rundown part of the city where pasta lives. It’s the Italian singular form of “spaghetti.” If you twirl your fork but only come up with one single strand of pasta, you aren’t biting into spaghetti; you are biting into “uno spaghetto.” Enough people found this to be an interesting revelation on Twitter that Ramsey’s tweet has been liked over 43,000 times and retweeted over 18,000. If Twitter wasn’t aware of the singular form of spaghetti before, they sure are now.

Of course, the reason “spaghetto” is singular and “spaghetti” is plural is because Italian uses different declensions for making words plural, whereas English typically just tacks on the letter “s” to make things plural. Because of this, often times when a foreign word joins the English language, we simply ignore the old convention and make the word plural the American way – with an “s.” But in their true form, some words, like spaghetti are already pluralized. Now don't even get me started on SpaghettiOs.

[h/t Food52]