Don’t say: my fathers!

Why is ‘my fathers’ incorrect?

If you have a traditional family and you have a mother and a father, then in English we say you have parents.

The singular form of the word parent refers to the person who looks after and cares for you when you are a child. For example, your mother, or your father.

On the other hand, the plural form of the word parent, that is, parents, is the collective word used to refer to the two people who raised you together.

What can you say instead?

Parents can refer to a mother and a father together, as is the case in traditional families. However, parents can also refer to two mothers or two fathers who raise a child together, such as in modern families.

Therefore, if you say my fathers, then you mean that you have 2 fathers. If you say my mothers, then you mean that you have 2 mothers. Whereas if you say my parents, then you could have 2 mothers, or 2 fathers, or a mother and a father.

And lastly, in my own profession, teaching, we use the word parents to refer to all the parents of all our students collectively.