Emeritus vs Emeriti
Why the UBC ‘Emeritus’ College, not the ‘Emeriti’ College?
In Latin, an adjective can be used without the noun it modifies; emeritus follows this pattern, as is illustrated in the first sentence of this explanation. In this usage it is classified as a noun in English and tends to show number, but not gender. The above explanation is demonstrated in the Corpus of Contemporary American English (a 560 million-word corpus from 1990–2015), which reports the number of instances of the forms in its database: emeritus–1880; emeriti–111; emerita–26; emeritae–0. The Strathy Corpus of Canadian English (50 million words) counts 114 instances of emeritus and 5 of emerita, with no instances of emeriti or emeritae. The MS Word spell checker flags emeritae as a spelling error.
Written by Carolyn Gilbert, Assisant Professor Emerita of Audiology and Speech Sciences
May 3, 2019