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    #1

    What does 'The rains' mean?

    Does 'The rains' mean 'The heavy rain' in the sentence 'The rains are coming to judge by those big black clouds'? (This sentence is taken from CAMBRIDGE GUIDE TO AUSTRALIAN ENGLISH USAGE)

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    #2

    Re: What does 'The rains' mean?

    As far as I can discern, it just means "I think it is about to rain; I see big black clouds coming". However, Raymott et.al. are probably better equipped than me for this particular question.
    Please be aware that I'm neither a native English speaker nor a teacher.

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    #3

    Re: What does 'The rains' mean?

    It doesn't mean anything about how heavy the rain is. It is considering a series of storms.

    I think most people would simply say that "it's going to rain," or "the rain is coming."

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    #4

    Re: What does 'The rains' mean?

    It could refer to the rainy season- people use the rains to refer to the monsoon rains where I live.

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    #5

    Re: What does 'The rains' mean?

    Not just 'It's about to rain'. 'The rains' is a period or season. And in some countries there is no such season. In the UK, winter is generally rainier than summer, but I don't think the plural was in common use in the UK until we colonized parts of the world that did have 'a rainy season' (as opposed to a time of year when it was often rainy).

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    #6

    Re: What does 'The rains' mean?

    If 'the rains' refers to the rainy season of the year in a particular country, then could we say 'The rainy season is coming to judge by those big black clouds'? With the adverbial 'to judge by those big black clouds', 'The rains' must indicate a happening of heavy rain, is that right?

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    #7

    Re: What does 'The rains' mean?

    I agree with those who said "the rains" probably means more than just a single rainstorm. But I don't not like your phrase "to judge" in that sentence. It sounds like the rains are going to judge something. I would change "to judge by" to "based on".

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    #8

    Re: What does 'The rains' mean?

    "Judging by ..." is correct. I think it's a simple case making the wrong choice between the infinitive and the gerund constructions.
    You need a comma after 'coming'.

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    #9

    Re: What does 'The rains' mean?

    Quote Originally Posted by joham View Post
    If 'the rains' refers to the rainy season of the year in a particular country, then could we say 'The rainy season is coming to judge by those big black clouds'? With the adverbial 'to judge by those big black clouds', 'The rains' must indicate a happening of heavy rain, is that right?
    I would say not just some heavy rain, but a change of season. Heavy rain can come before the rainy season, but there''s something to indicate that these clouds aren't just bringing rain, but a real change.

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