The Problem with Plurals
or: Quis Castigabit Ipsos Castigatores?
January 5, 2012
If you’re like most of us, you’ve said something perfectly normal only to have some creep pounce on your grammar. “Actually, it’s ‘I can’t get any satisfaction.’ I think you’ll find it’s ‘The lovers, the dreamers and I.’”1 If you’re an incorrigible bastard like me, you’ve occasionally been that creep (although, I maintain, in the politest possible way). But what happens when even the pedants are wrong? Because even the snarkiest censors will occasionally be wrong themselves, especially when it comes to that glorious goldmine of the English language: plural nouns. Everyone — and I mean everyone — screws these up from time to time. But the problem isn’t with the English language itself. The problem lies squarely with foreign loan words and the people who insist on using them correctly.