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Cacti vs. Cactuses — What's the Difference?

Edited by Tayyaba Rehman — By Fiza Rafique — Updated on November 2, 2023
Cacti and cactuses are both plural forms of the word "cactus," referring to spiny desert plants. "Cacti" follows Latin rules; "cactuses" follows English rules.
Cacti vs. Cactuses

Difference Between Cacti and Cactuses

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Key Differences

"Cacti" is the plural form of cactus based on its Latin origin. In scientific and formal contexts, "cacti" is often preferred. Conversely, "cactuses" is the plural form created by following the standard English rule of adding "-es" to nouns ending in "us."
Fiza Rafique
Nov 02, 2023
The usage of "cacti" reflects adherence to traditional Latin grammar. It is commonly used in botanical texts and academic settings. "Cactuses," however, aligns with modern English conventions and is frequently used in everyday speech.
Fiza Rafique
Nov 02, 2023
Both "cacti" and "cactuses" correctly refer to multiple cactus plants. While "cacti" might be seen as more technically correct, "cactuses" is equally valid and understood in general communication.
Fiza Rafique
Nov 02, 2023
In terms of pronunciation, "cacti" is pronounced as "KAK-tie," reflecting its Latin roots. In contrast, "cactuses" is pronounced as "KAK-tuh-siz," following English phonetic rules.
Fiza Rafique
Nov 02, 2023

Comparison Chart

Origin of Plural Form

Latin
English
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Nov 02, 2023
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Common Usage

Scientific, formal contexts
Everyday, informal speech
Fiza Rafique
Nov 02, 2023

Pronunciation

"KAK-tie"
"KAK-tuh-siz"
Fiza Rafique
Nov 02, 2023

Grammatical Adherence

Follows Latin pluralization
Follows English pluralization
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Nov 02, 2023

Acceptability

Widely accepted
Equally acceptable
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Nov 02, 2023

Compare with Definitions

Cacti

A collection of spiny desert plants.
She admired the cacti's resilience in arid conditions.
Fiza Rafique
Nov 02, 2023

Cactuses

Several desert plants with protective spines.
She painted a landscape filled with cactuses.
Fiza Rafique
Nov 02, 2023

Cacti

Multiple plants belonging to the Cactaceae family.
The botanist studied the different flowering patterns of cacti.
Fiza Rafique
Nov 02, 2023

Cactuses

Multiple cactus plants, often found in arid areas.
During the hike, they saw various cactuses along the trail.
Fiza Rafique
Nov 02, 2023

Cacti

Group of plants known for their spines and drought resistance.
Cacti are well-suited for xeriscaping in dry regions.
Fiza Rafique
Nov 02, 2023

Cactuses

Collection of spiny plants known for water retention.
He was fascinated by the water-storing abilities of cactuses.
Fiza Rafique
Nov 02, 2023

Cacti

Plural of cactus, referring to multiple cactus plants.
The greenhouse displayed a variety of cacti from around the world.
Fiza Rafique
Nov 02, 2023

Cactuses

Plural form of cactus in English.
The children learned about different types of cactuses in school.
Fiza Rafique
Nov 02, 2023

Cacti

Several succulent plants with fleshy stems.
He photographed the cacti during his desert expedition.
Fiza Rafique
Nov 02, 2023

Cactuses

A group of succulents from the Cactaceae family.
The nursery had a wide selection of cactuses for sale.
Fiza Rafique
Nov 02, 2023

Cacti

Any of numerous succulent, spiny, usually leafless plants of the family Cactaceae, native chiefly to arid regions of the Americas, having variously colored, often showy flowers with numerous stamens and petals.
Fiza Rafique
May 12, 2019

Cactuses

Any of numerous succulent, spiny, usually leafless plants of the family Cactaceae, native chiefly to arid regions of the Americas, having variously colored, often showy flowers with numerous stamens and petals.
Fiza Rafique
May 12, 2019

Cacti

Any of several similar plants.
Fiza Rafique
May 12, 2019

Cactuses

Any of several similar plants.
Fiza Rafique
May 12, 2019

Cactuses

Plural of cactus
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May 12, 2019

Common Curiosities

Which is more commonly used, "cacti" or "cactuses"?

"Cacti" is more common in formal settings, while "cactuses" is often used informally.
Fiza Rafique
Nov 02, 2023

Does "cacti" have Latin roots?

Yes, "cacti" follows Latin pluralization rules.
Fiza Rafique
Nov 02, 2023

Can "cacti" be used in everyday conversation?

Yes, "cacti" can be used in both formal and informal contexts.
Fiza Rafique
Nov 02, 2023

Are "cacti" and "cactuses" both correct?

Yes, both are correct plural forms of "cactus."
Fiza Rafique
Nov 02, 2023

Can I find both "cacti" and "cactuses" in dictionaries?

Yes, both forms are recognized in most dictionaries.
Fiza Rafique
Nov 02, 2023

Should scientific papers use "cacti" or "cactuses"?

Scientific papers usually prefer "cacti."
Fiza Rafique
Nov 02, 2023

Which form should I teach children?

Both forms are correct, but "cacti" may help them understand Latin roots.
Fiza Rafique
Nov 02, 2023

Is "cactuses" considered informal?

Yes, it's more informal and follows English pluralization rules.
Fiza Rafique
Nov 02, 2023

Is there a difference in meaning between "cacti" and "cactuses"?

No, they both refer to multiple cactus plants.
Fiza Rafique
Nov 02, 2023

Is it wrong to use "cactuses" in a formal presentation?

It's not wrong, but "cacti" might be more appropriate for formal settings.
Fiza Rafique
Nov 02, 2023

Does the choice between "cacti" and "cactuses" depend on the region?

Not necessarily, it's more about formality and personal preference.
Fiza Rafique
Nov 02, 2023

Are there any other plural forms for "cactus"?

No, "cacti" and "cactuses" are the accepted plural forms.
Fiza Rafique
Nov 02, 2023

Can I use "cactuses" in academic writing?

It's acceptable, but "cacti" is traditionally preferred in academic contexts.
Fiza Rafique
Nov 02, 2023

Do "cacti" and "cactuses" have different pronunciations?

Yes, "cacti" is pronounced "KAK-tie," and "cactuses" is "KAK-tuh-siz."
Fiza Rafique
Nov 02, 2023

Can both "cacti" and "cactuses" be found in literature?

Yes, both forms appear in various literary works.
Fiza Rafique
Nov 02, 2023

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Fiza Rafique
Fiza Rafique is a skilled content writer at AskDifference.com, where she meticulously refines and enhances written pieces. Drawing from her vast editorial expertise, Fiza ensures clarity, accuracy, and precision in every article. Passionate about language, she continually seeks to elevate the quality of content for readers worldwide.
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to askdifference.com. As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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