A we gear up for the Thanksgiving and winter holidays season, one question is on everybody’s minds: What is the plural of turkey? Is it turkey or turkies? Or perhaps it’s turkey’s? Let this English teacher explain, with illustrations!
As background, my name is Ms. Marshall, and I’ve been a teacher since 2003 (almost twenty years now)! I also enjoy eating poultry, so this is a very relevant question for me, too. As you may have seen in my recent turkey drawing lesson, I’m also an artist, and hand-draw each of the illustrations on this site. Ready to learn? Let’s go!
Plural of Turkey: Turkeys or Turkies?
This question about the plural of turkey is more complicated than it seems, so stick with me. The first part is easier, and the second part, less so. First, as is the case with “every time or everytime,” only one is correct in the “turkeys or turkies” battle…
“Turkeys” is the correct plural of turkey, and “turkies” is wrong and should never be used. It is an erroneous misspelling like the ever-popular (and always incorrect) “recieved” and should never be used. But wait — there’s more…
When is Turkey’s Used?
In the turkeys vs. turkey’s quandary, they’re both correct, depending on the context. “Turkey’s” with an apostrophe is either a possessive (something belonging to the turkey, like the turkey’s tail), or a contraction of “the turkey is,” like: “The turkey’s in the oven!”.
(Recall our “who’s or whose” lesson for another example of a contraction.) “Turkeys” without an apostrophe is just the plural of turkey. See my illustration above, with both words used in sentences correctly.
VIDEO: Plural of Turkey
What About Servings of Turkey?
Finally, if you’re talking about servings of turkey, do you say “Could you serve me some more turkey, please?” or “Could you serve me some more turkeys please?” The answer is the former: turkey. Why?
The reason is that servings of turkey function like our “hair or hairs” lesson: When you’re talking about individual entire turkeys, you use the plural “turkeys.” When you’re asking for another serving of turkey — even if it’s several slices — you use the term “turkey.”
If you ask for “more turkeys,” your asking for multiple ENTIRE turkeys to eat! I don’t think that’s what you want. Or do you??? I think it’s time to peruse my “how to stop snacking at night” tutorial!
Plural of Turkey, in Sum
I hope this lesson on the plural of turkey has been in helpful. In the “turkeys or turkies” quandary, the latter is always wrong and shouldn’t be used. Meanwhile, “turkey’s” is to show a possessive or a contraction. Oh — and we’re talking about the bird here, not the country called Turkey! For that geographical jaunt, check out my photos from Ephesus, Turkey.
What other hard words to spell would you like me to illustrate and explain? Do share!
The author and artist, Lillie Marshall, is a National Board Certified Teacher of English who has been a public school educator since 2003, and an experienced Reiki practitioner since 2018. All art on this site is original and hand-drawn by Lillie. She launched DrawingsOf.com Educational Cartoons in 2020, building upon the success of her other sites, AroundTheWorldL.com (established 2009), TeachingTraveling.com (founded 2010), and ReikiColors.com. Subscribe to Lillie’s monthly newsletter, and follow @WorldLillie on social media to stay connected!