What is the form to be used for an instrument or a machine for weighing: scale or scales?
There might be a difference between AmE and BrE, so I need to understand it. To me, "scales" to be more universal. What do you think about that?
Ok. Thank you.
Here is what I got from the Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary:
1 a : either pan or tray of a balance b : a beam that is supported freely in the center and has two pans of equal weight suspended from its ends — usually used in plural
2 : an instrument or machine for weighing
This is from the Longman Dictionary:
3 *measuring instrument* scales [plural] also scale AmE
a) a machine for weighing people or objects
b) a piece of equipment with two dishes used especially in реу past for weighing things by comparing them to a known weight
The American Heritage Dictionary gives the following definition:
scale often scales
An instrument or machine for weighing
Can anybody shed some light upon it?
Last edited by Jack8rkin; 15-Apr-2010 at 12:36.
I jumped on the (bathroom) scales this morning and discovered I had lost 2 pounds.
To make a good cake, I need to weigh everything carefully on the (kitchen) scales.
Interesting. I'd say "scale" for that thing you stand on and try not to look at in the bathroom or the little spring-loaded thing in my kitchen.
I'd use scales when there are two trays that balance, like you see in the image for Libra in the Zodiac. (Is that capitalized?)
I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.
Thank everybody for the responses!
I alway have doubts about this object for wheighing when I translate texts from Russian into English. In Russian, the noun denoting this object is used in plural. Always. In English, it all seems to be too complicated... I wish I could ask those guys who read my translations. It seems that use of this word (like that of many others in English) is dominated by personal opinions and locations of those who use it. Interesting. Another question is, what am I to put in my translations?
You have in Russian plural: весы, гиря. We have in Polish the only singular form: waga.
Maybe a satisfactory solution in your translation would be:
1. If the object has one dish - you can use the singular form,
2. If the object has two dishes - you can put the plural one.
Maybe off topic, but still:
гиря = weight, one that is used for physical exercises and for weighing things on scales for counterbalancing (can be both plural and singular in Russian)
весы = scales (always plural in Russian), if I use "вес", which sounds like a singular form of "весы", the meaning will be completely changed into "weight" (how heavy something is).
Thank you for your suggestion on translation, I've been thinking on it.