Thread: what constitutes the "s" in .......say pants?

1. what constitutes the "s" in .......say pants?

Is it the 2 legs? Then why is it just "shirt" in singular form, if you apply the same rule, I swear there are 2 arms to a shirt.

I need some insight. Not that my life is in desparet need of clarity, but plurals like this buggs me to no end. Why don't we say, "I need my pant!..." cause seriously I only wear one at a time. If it's cold, then I'd choose a thicker kind of pant, I certainly don't wear 2, that would be uncomfortable.

Thanks
NT

2. Re: what constitutes the "s" in .......say pants?

Originally Posted by NearThere
Is it the 2 legs? Then why is it just "shirt" in singular form, if you apply the same rule, I swear there are 2 arms to a shirt.

I need some insight. Not that my life is in desparet need of clarity, but plurals like this buggs me to no end. Why don't we say, "I need my pant!..." cause seriously I only wear one at a time. If it's cold, then I'd choose a thicker kind of pant, I certainly don't wear 2, that would be uncomfortable.

Thanks
NT
Trousers, scissors, pants, glasses, shears, pliers

All of these are plural because they are composed of two symmetrical parts. Shirt is the exception.

3. Re: what constitutes the "s" in .......say pants?

Originally Posted by banderas
Trousers, scissors, pants, glasses, shears, pliers

All of these are plural because they are composed of two symmetrical parts. Shirt is the exception.
You're telling me my shirt is not symmetrical. I just folded it in 2..vertically, I beg to differ.

4. Re: what constitutes the "s" in .......say pants?

Originally Posted by NearThere
You're telling me my shirt is not symmetrical. I just folded it in 2..vertically, I beg to differ.

All of these are plural because they are composed of two symmetrical parts. Apparenlty the rule does not apply to "shirt" therefore it is an exception of the rule.

5. Re: what constitutes the "s" in .......say pants?

Originally Posted by banderas
All of these are plural because they are composed of two symmetrical parts. Apparenlty the rule does not apply to "shirt" therefore it is an exception of the rule.

Some rule!

I have wondered, and some others have insinuated the same notion too, that if the ancient grammarians were antually prankers that vied at any the chance that could throw innocent foreigner's life off a little bit. I'm beginning to believe that with conviction.

Just why would it be plural? pants! goodness.

NT

6. Re: what constitutes the "s" in .......say pants?

Originally Posted by banderas
All of these are plural because they are composed of two symmetrical parts. Apparenlty the rule does not apply to "shirt" therefore it is an exception of the rule.
Oh, by the way, you are not one of those grammarians, are ya? Tell me you didn't make this up as you go along.

7. Re: what constitutes the "s" in .......say pants?

Originally Posted by NearThere
Oh, by the way, you are not one of those grammarians, are ya? Tell me you didn't make this up as you go along.
No, it was not my job but I have heard of these grammarians when I discovered that:
more than one potato = potatoes
more than one hero = heroes
. . . however . . .
more than one memo = memos
more than one cello = cellos
. . . and for words where another vowel comes before the o . . .
more than one stereo = stereos

Furthermore, I kept in mind that plurals of words that end in -f or -fe change the f sound to a v sound and add s or -es as in:
more than one knife = knives
more than one leaf = leaves
There are, however, exceptions:
more than one dwarf = dwarfs
more than one roof = roofs
What do you say?

8. Re: what constitutes the "s" in .......say pants?

Originally Posted by NearThere
Is it the 2 legs? Then why is it just "shirt" in singular form, if you apply the same rule, I swear there are 2 arms to a shirt.

I need some insight. Not that my life is in desparet need of clarity, but plurals like this buggs me to no end. Why don't we say, "I need my pant!..." cause seriously I only wear one at a time. If it's cold, then I'd choose a thicker kind of pant, I certainly don't wear 2, that would be uncomfortable.

Thanks
NT
Sorry about that. You just have to accept that some words are odd.

"pants" is short for "pantaloons" which comes from the Italian name Pantalone, used for a comic old man in Italian pantomime who wears baggy breeches.

"Breeches" is another of these words for garments worn on the nether regions by men.

If you stop looking at them as plurals, and regard them purely as words spelled in this way, your life will be a great deal easier.

9. Re: what constitutes the "s" in .......say pants?

Originally Posted by banderas
No, it was not my job but I have heard of these grammarians when I discovered that:
more than one potato = potatoes
more than one hero = heroes
. . . however . . .
more than one memo = memos
more than one cello = cellos
. . . and for words where another vowel comes before the o . . .
more than one stereo = stereos

Furthermore, I kept in mind that plurals of words that end in -f or -fe change the f sound to a v sound and add s or -es as in:
more than one knife = knives
more than one leaf = leaves
There are, however, exceptions:
more than one dwarf = dwarfs
more than one roof = roofs
What do you say?
Major pains in the A if you ask me, for someone who might have a little tendency of compulsive behavior. I should be glad that they left "shirt" alone as it is, or it would have pushed me over the edge.

Why couldn't they keep things simple, as in Chinese? There's no plural inflections, and let me tell ya we understand one another perfectly well when dividing animal crackers among us during snack time.....yeah, that's like very long time ago.

10. Re: what constitutes the "s" in .......say pants?

Originally Posted by Anglika
Sorry about that. You just have to accept that some words are odd.

"pants" is short for "pantaloons" which comes from the Italian name Pantalone, used for a comic old man in Italian pantomime who wears baggy breeches.

"Breeches" is another of these words for garments worn on the nether regions by men.

If you stop looking at them as plurals, and regard them purely as words spelled in this way, your life will be a great deal easier.
Great advice! No more subtle than to say "seek help", that's OK, this wouldn't be the first time.

So noone (people learning English as 2nd language) ever get bothered by it sometimes? Is it just me?

Must be the Chinese langauge thing then, I was so hardwired and irreversably programmed that I sometimes have troubling applying plurals/singulars when needs be:

"Geez, this's a lot of running that my leg hurt."
"Which leg?"
"Both of them does..........uh do."

Same thing with gender-specific prounouns which we don't have, all pronouns are neutral. My friend David was irritated at the fact that I went back and forth between "he", "she", "her" and "him" when addressing him, because I made him sound like an indecisive transvestite.

Oh well, life goes on.
NT

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