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  1. keannu's Avatar
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    #1

    Spanish armies

    Why do they use a plural form of "armies" in these two? I think "army" is sufficient to denote the meaning, but does the plural form have any real plural meanings like multiple armies combining many regiments, batallions, etc?

    ex1) Before the year of 1500, the Mayas, Aztecs, and Incas were three great civilizations in Mexico and South America. All three were defeated by Spanish armies,but some historians say that with the armies came an even more horrifying weapon : small pox.
    ex2)... One famous example is Napoleon's invasion of Russia. At the time, many people thought he was going to conquer all of Europe. But he sent his armies into Russia during the winter, and they were defeated because of the severe cold....

  2. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Spanish armies

    Quote Originally Posted by keannu View Post
    Why do they use a plural form of "armies" in these two? I think "army" is sufficient to denote the meaning, but does the plural form have any real plural meanings like multiple armies combining many regiments, batallions, etc?

    ex1) Before the year of 1500, the Mayas, Aztecs, and Incas were three great civilizations in Mexico and South America. All three were defeated by Spanish armies,but some historians say that with the armies came an even more horrifying weapon : small pox.
    ex2)... One famous example is Napoleon's invasion of Russia. At the time, many people thought he was going to conquer all of Europe. But he sent his armies into Russia during the winter, and they were defeated because of the severe cold....
    I am fairly certain that the Mayans, the Aztecs and the Incas were not all defeated by the same Spanish army (ie the same people). At each battle, there was a different Spanish army, so in three battles there would be three different Spanish armies.

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    #3

    Re: Spanish armies

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    I am fairly certain that the Mayans, the Aztecs and the Incas were not all defeated by the same Spanish army (ie the same people). At each battle, there was a different Spanish army, so in three battles there would be three different Spanish armies.
    [not at teacher]

    How do you explain the second example?

    ex2)... One famous example is Napoleon's invasion of Russia.
    Also, related? There are a few English words that are plural on their face, but occationally require the plural form:

    monies
    peoples
    fishes
    fruits

    As a native speaker, I usually know when these should be used, but without thinking hard about it now, I really don't know the usage rule(s) offhand...

  3. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Spanish armies

    I can't explain the Napoleon example. There, I would have used "army".

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    #5

    Re: Spanish armies

    I would have also used "army". Perhaps "armies" sounds more intimidating? He sent a horde, vs. he sent hordes?

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    #6

    Re: Spanish armies

    United States Army - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    See the US Army, for example. While the term in the singular collectively refers to all of the ground-based fighting forces, the "army" is itself divided into divisions which are also called "armies." For example, US Third Army, US Army Africa, US Army Pacific.

    So it's entirely possible that Napoleon had different subdivisions of his forces, each which was known as an army, and together these armies went to Russia.

  4. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: Spanish armies

    Napoleon's troops were divided into separate armies. Look here: Napoleon Bonaparte's Army : Napoleonic Wars : Napoleon Bonaparte :

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