The Wiktionary entry for Komma shows 2 plural forms: Kommas and Kommata. However, my German teacher told me that only the form die Kommata is correct, and the second is used by the people that don't know the correct form.

The answer about the English plural from "comma" suggests, that in English the form commata is practically unused. How does it look like with German language? Would a typical German understand, what is meant, when he/she hears the word Kommata?

  • Your German teacher was not alone. Mine also told me that German words never end in -s when pluralised. – Mr Lister Feb 12 '14 at 7:52
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    @MrLister it's oversimplification. ask your German teacher then, what's the plural form of words such as Opa, Oma, Kino, Casino, Foto, Taxi, Lkw etc. – Danubian Sailor Feb 12 '14 at 8:21
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    @ŁukaszL. Isn't it clear? Opata, Omata, Kinota, Casinota, Fotota, Taxita. Seriously: The plural of "LKW" is not (as some people think) LKWs, but also LKW, as LKW expands to Lastkraftwagen. The plural of Lastkraftwagen is not Lastkraftwagens. – Thorsten Dittmar Feb 12 '14 at 11:41
  • @ThorstenDittmar you suggest, there's an error on mein-deutschbuch.de/lernen.php?menu_id=53 ? – Danubian Sailor Feb 12 '14 at 12:24
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    Traumata Vs. Traumen. – c.p. Feb 12 '14 at 15:28

English, wait for us, we're coming!

"Kommas" is neither new nor has it ever been rare as this N-Gram shows.

I have been told "Kommata" back in school but "Kommas" doesn't sound in any way uneducated or weird to me... like "Themas" would do. So I think your teacher is fighting a lost cause. "Kommas" is acceptable and used and "Kommata" is perceived as a plural mainly because it is different than "Komma". Not because people think "plural" as soon as they hear "ata". I even think if I were to write

Ich benutze viele Kommae.

people who understand "Kommata" would understand this, too.

  • I don't understand why you got downvoted. Whoever did should probably say why. I think this answer is perfectly fine. – clinch Feb 11 '14 at 20:55
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    It was I. I originally upvoted, but "Kommae" made me change my mind. I just wanted to take back my upvote. – Ingmar Feb 11 '14 at 20:57
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    As a sidenote: Themen (though not Themas) is part of the name of one of the best known German TV programs, though Themata is the etymologically correct plural (for what it’s worth). – Wrzlprmft Feb 11 '14 at 20:58

Kommata would usually be understood, but possibly considered showing off your education (in a public school, we suppose). According to Duden, Kommas is perfectly fine (and much more common, I might add.)

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