Monday, November 9, 2009

Scissors, Pants and Glasses

I've noticed that some funny words only exist in English in the plural. We can hold a pair of scissors, but there is no such thing as a single scissor. And we put on our pants, one leg at a time, but still that one leg is in our pants, not our pant.

Of course, there can be scissor marks on a piece of paper, or we can notice the stain on our pant leg. That sounds singular. But really "scissor" and "pant" are here used as adjectives, and thus in English they are neither singular nor plural.

And even if only one lens gets crushed, you have still broken your glasses. Again, that word only exists in the plural (when it means the things you put on your nose to help you see).

How many other words do we use that can only be used in the plural?


UberGrumpy said...

Interesting! How about anything withc blades, e.g. shears, secateurs, etc.

Doug P. Baker said...

Yes, I think you are right!

And how about "accolades"? Has anyone ever been offered ONE accolade? Aren't we always offering "accolades"? Or "Congratulations"?

Our list is growing!

Jacob R Parker said...

Cookies! ;) On a more serious note, I find it interesting that people tend to say " the hopes of..." rather than " the hope of..." even if there is only one "hope" to speak of.

非凡 said...

I'm appreciate your writing skill.Please keep on working hard.^^

Doug P. Baker said...

Ha! Cookies! Amen, that should always be used in the plural! Thanks for the laugh, Jacob.

And your words are very encouraging, thank you Kitty.