Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 7th May 2008 21:24 UTC
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Pants treated as plural
by sbergman27 on Wed 7th May 2008 23:14 UTC
sbergman27
Member since:
2005-07-24

It is a bit of an oddity. But the term "pants", short for "pantaloons" is, in English, regarded as being plural.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Pants treated as plural
by umccullough on Thu 8th May 2008 02:45 UTC in reply to "Pants treated as plural"
umccullough Member since:
2006-01-26

It is a bit of an oddity. But the term "pants", short for "pantaloons" is, in English, regarded as being plural.


I think you is taking it way too seriously.

Reply Score: 9

RE[2]: Pants treated as plural
by sbergman27 on Thu 8th May 2008 02:55 UTC in reply to "RE: Pants treated as plural"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

No. Not at all. My post was not intended as a complaint or nitpick, but to convey information which I thought might be interesting and helpful to a nonnative English speaker interested in languages.

However, this is one comic that I didn't laugh at. Not because I think it is bad, but because the topic of SCO is so old and worn out. I think someone compared it to the monster in the horror B movie that just wont die, and I have to agree with the sentiment.

Edit: How about "Darl McBride vs The Eveready Bunny" for a B movie title? ;-)

Edited 2008-05-08 02:57 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: Pants treated as plural
by WereCatf on Thu 8th May 2008 11:30 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Pants treated as plural"
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

No. Not at all. My post was not intended as a complaint or nitpick, but to convey information which I thought might be interesting and helpful to a nonnative English speaker interested in languages.

Atleast I do appreciate all these insights and I find them very interesting. I have always been interested in learning languages and I just have some natural talent for it. Actually, everyone in my family has been fast at picking up new languages. Anyways, I do say "pants are" but I too have noticed some US-originated citizens tend to say it as "pants is".

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Pants treated as plural
by sbergman27 on Thu 8th May 2008 11:48 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Pants treated as plural"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

I suppose it has something to do with pants having two "pant legs". Then a again, a shirt has two arms, and a brassiere usually[1] has two cups. But still, as a whole, it does not really make sense to to me to treat "pants" as plural... unless you cut them in half with scissors. But then you have another problem, because "scissors" is also treated as plural.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minor_characters_from_The_Hitchhiker~*...

Edited 2008-05-08 11:50 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Pants treated as plural
by ebasconp on Thu 8th May 2008 14:36 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Pants treated as plural"
ebasconp Member since:
2006-05-09

No. Not at all. My post was not intended as a complaint or nitpick, but to convey information which I thought might be interesting and helpful to a nonnative English speaker interested in languages.


I really appreciate that. I am always happy when someone corrects my "four-year old boy" English ;)

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Pants treated as plural
by kaiwai on Thu 8th May 2008 15:43 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Pants treated as plural"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

No. Not at all. My post was not intended as a complaint or nitpick, but to convey information which I thought might be interesting and helpful to a nonnative English speaker interested in languages.

Atleast I do appreciate all these insights and I find them very interesting. I have always been interested in learning languages and I just have some natural talent for it. Actually, everyone in my family has been fast at picking up new languages. Anyways, I do say "pants are" but I too have noticed some US-originated citizens tend to say it as "pants is".


I guess it falls under the same sort of reason why those of the 'commonwealth' (NZ, Aussie, UK and possibly Canada) tend to refer to a organisation and use are, "Microsoft are a large organisation" - are being used in terms of plurality, meaning, the plurality of the components which make it up. In the case of pants - "your pants are on fire", and when referring to pants its quite normal to say, "I own a pair of black pants".

Then again, it is like the use of an before a word beginning with a vowel "an apple" whilst at the same time using an even though the word doesn't start with a vowel but sounds strange if 'a' is used. When is is used instead of are, in respects to pants, it just doesn't sound right and the sentence doesn't flow - it sounds disjointed.

Edited 2008-05-08 15:44 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Pants treated as plural
by AndyM103 on Thu 8th May 2008 17:31 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Pants treated as plural"
AndyM103 Member since:
2008-03-18

It comes from the French aswell [as in the plurality of "pants"], les pantalons but I'm afraid my German is somewhat lacking.

Another interesting one is data which can, of course, be singular and plural (especially when used in physics).

Edited 2008-05-08 17:31 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[6]: Pants treated as plural
by Kyuubu on Sun 11th May 2008 14:44 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Pants treated as plural"
Kyuubu Member since:
2007-09-07

It comes from the French aswell [as in the plurality of "pants"], les pantalons

Although it may originaly be a plural word, we (french people) do say "un pantalon", so no plural here...

Reply Score: 1

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

I guess it falls under the same sort of reason why those of the 'commonwealth' (NZ, Aussie, UK and possibly Canada) tend to refer to a organisation and use are, "Microsoft are a large organisation" - are being used in terms of plurality, meaning, the plurality of the components which make it up.


It differs per language. You can either determine plurality by looking at the meaning of the word in question, or by looking at the grammatical structure of the word. For instance, it's "a number of people ARE" in English, even though the subject ("a number of people") is grammatically singular. In Dutch, you get "een aantal mensen IS" (is = is), exactly because the subject is grammatically singular.

Another fun case is the notation of percentages. In English, you say "50% of people are", while in Dutch, you say "50% van de mensen is", simply because a percentage might be plural in meaning, it's still singular grammatically. This is actually something even native Dutch speaker struggle with.

Reply Score: 1

RE[6]: Pants treated as plural
by siride on Fri 9th May 2008 14:30 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Pants treated as plural"
siride Member since:
2006-01-02

Speaking of Dutch, can you guys get with the program regarding your g's and ch's? Also, your diphthongs digust me. <ui> as /2y/ or whatever it is; <ij> as /Ej/? Finish the damn vowel shift already!

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Pants treated as plural
by mallard on Fri 9th May 2008 08:00 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Pants treated as plural"
mallard Member since:
2006-01-06


I guess it falls under the same sort of reason why those of the 'commonwealth' (NZ, Aussie, UK and possibly Canada) tend to refer to a organisation and use are, "Microsoft are a large organisation" - are being used in terms of plurality, meaning, the plurality of the components which make it up.


Actually, here in the UK, it is much more normal to say "Microsoft IS a large organisation", (although the "are" form is not unheard of) however, if we talk about the activities of said organisation, we might say "Microsoft ARE working on X, Y and Z". In addition these would be "their" activities.

Basically, when speaking about a collective in an abstract way, referring the the collective itself, it can be referred to as singular, since we are talking about one collective, however, when using the name of the collective as shorthand for it's members, plural is used, so "Microsoft is a large organisation", but "Microsoft are developing Windows 7".

IMHO, I am not a language expert.

Reply Score: 2

pants / trousers
by giddie on Thu 8th May 2008 12:02 UTC
giddie
Member since:
2008-04-29

Also worth bearing in mind: 'pants' means 'underwear' to Commonwealth English speakers (but is still plural). We exclusively use the word 'trousers' for the visible full-leg article of clothing.

Another note to US-English speakers: *please* avoid use of the word 'fanny' to anyone outside North America!

Reply Score: 1

RE: pants / trousers
by WereCatf on Thu 8th May 2008 12:11 UTC in reply to "pants / trousers"
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

Also worth bearing in mind: 'pants' means 'underwear' to Commonwealth English speakers (but is still plural). We exclusively use the word 'trousers' for the visible full-leg article of clothing.

That is a distinction I wasn't aware. I have always used 'pants' when I have been talking about 'trousers'. So, thank you for the note, I shall try to remember it ;) (I am still trying to hone my english language skills. There are so many subtle little things everywhere to remember ;) But, care to explain what does 'fanny' mean? ;)

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: pants / trousers
by anevilyak on Thu 8th May 2008 12:57 UTC in reply to "RE: pants / trousers"
anevilyak Member since:
2005-09-14

In the UK at least it's slang for vagina I believe.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: pants / trousers
by rft183 on Thu 8th May 2008 15:41 UTC in reply to "RE: pants / trousers"
rft183 Member since:
2005-08-11

In the US, the word 'fanny' refers to the 'rear end'.

Oh, and I've always figured that pants was considered plural because it ends in 's'. I know that's not a very good rule, though, because there are plenty of exceptions (There's a good English rule!). I just haven't been able to think of a better reason!

Edited 2008-05-08 15:44 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: pants / trousers
by David on Thu 8th May 2008 18:09 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: pants / trousers"
David Member since:
1997-10-01

Not only does "fanny" mean "rear end" in the US, but it's considered a very innocuous, and even childish word. It's also antiquated, and not in wide use anymore, which should come as a relief to horrified Brits.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: pants / trousers
by atriq on Thu 8th May 2008 18:35 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: pants / trousers"
atriq Member since:
2007-10-18

This is why it is all the more important for us in the US to bring about the demise of the fanny pack!

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: pants / trousers
by David on Thu 8th May 2008 18:53 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: pants / trousers"
David Member since:
1997-10-01

So true. That's about the only remaining common usage of the term, and it's truly very unfortunate, and a very unfortunate fashion statement as well. I just with people would call them "belt packs."

Reply Score: 1

RE[6]: pants / trousers
by sbergman27 on Thu 8th May 2008 20:04 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: pants / trousers"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

This is why it is all the more important for us in the US to bring about the demise of the fanny pack!

That's about the only remaining common usage of the term, and it's truly very unfortunate, and a very unfortunate fashion statement as well.

This (my) post is so tasteless I can't believe I'm doing it. But this is Focus Shift, so what the hell! One down. How many to go? ;-)

http://tinyurl.com/332q8x


Edit: But on a more somber note... look at the name of that jpeg.

Edited 2008-05-08 20:13 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: pants / trousers
by mikesum32 on Thu 8th May 2008 19:47 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: pants / trousers"
mikesum32 Member since:
2005-10-22

Here in the US a pussy is usually not a cat. A biscuit is a cookie, and a scone is a biscuit.

Oh, and we don't use stones as a weight measurement.

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: pants / trousers
by aesiamun on Fri 9th May 2008 18:42 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: pants / trousers"
aesiamun Member since:
2005-06-29

Here in the US a pussy is usually not a cat. A biscuit is a cookie, and a scone is a biscuit.

Oh, and we don't use stones as a weight measurement.


In the US a biscuit is a light and fluffy mini thing that are drenched in white gravy or used in breakfast sandwiches.

I've never heard an American refer to a cookie as a biscuit...

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: pants / trousers
by JonathanBThompson on Mon 12th May 2008 07:06 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: pants / trousers"
JonathanBThompson Member since:
2006-05-26

Another big one to change the name (and how it is used) is that if you wear it on the fanny, you set yourself up for a much greater chance of having it robbed blind by pickpockets (let's create a new term for specialized ones, "pickfannys") because they're so insecure, if you've not locked it somehow.

I've been known in the past to use one for carrying my wallet/keys/necessities to my reality while on runs, but not facing backwards. Thus, it'd more accurately be called ... well, let's not go there ;)

Never buy fish from a salesman wearing a codpiece! ;)

Reply Score: 2

huh
by primelight@live.com on Mon 12th May 2008 09:50 UTC
primelight@live.com
Member since:
2008-03-19

these comics are universally not funny

why not link to some real comics?

Reply Score: 1