In my fiction, I have “horn” and “horns” as separate kinds. The reason for this is it makes little sense to “examine the yak’s horn” when the yak has two horns, and nopony will want to examine the left and right horns separately.
I can get this to work by declaring horns before I declare horn:
Some horns are a kind of body part.
The plural of horns is horns.
A horn is a kind of body part.
This recognizes that horns is the plural of both horn and horns. To avoid confusion, I’ll use italics for the plural word. There are three problems, however.
First, if I have a yak and a unicorn in the same room, “examine horns” will tell me I can’t use multiple objects with that verb. I’d rather it try to use the singular noun ‘horns’ before trying the plural ‘horns’.
Second, if the user types ‘horn’ but there is only ‘horns’ present, I’d like it to try ‘horns’ instead. So “look yak’s horn”, while a little unusual, will still work.
Third, if the user tries to use a verb with ‘horns’ that does understand plural, it will interpret ‘horns’ as plural if there is a single ‘horn’ in the room and never target the singular ‘horns’ of the yak.
I suspect the solution to this is not to define ‘horns’ as a body part, but rather to label them ‘left horn’ and ‘right horn’ and then come up with some way to redirect ‘look horns’ to ‘look left horn’ and have the same description for both… or something. Any advice here would be appreciated.
(Aside, I’m tempted just to define ‘horn’ as the plural of ‘horn’, which is wrong, but might be less annoying.)