On Language 6/28: Q&A’s on S-words and carbon copies
Q. A question popped into my head while I was sleeping/dreaming last night. I wondered if you might know. Are there any other words in the English language besides “new” wherein when an “s” is added, it changes the entire meaning of the word?
—Marian Taylor, East Dundee
A. My college English professor, James Vanden Bosch of Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich., has some suggestions. His answers fall into two categories: words that can change to another part of speech when “s” is added—“heroic” (adjective to noun), “ruin” (verb to noun), “wrap” (verb to noun), and “chill” (verb to noun); and words that change their meaning with an added “,s” as you requested: “spectacle,” “glass” (taking an “-es” ending), and “dropping.” I would place “new” in the first category, since “news” turns the adjective into a plural noun, but retains the meaning of the word.