singular debris?

Bob Fitzke fitzke at VOYAGER.NET
Wed Jul 21 18:29:06 UTC 1999

This discussion sort of reminds me of an old joke. If you have a bunch of odds
and ends on a table and they all fall off save one, what's left, an odd or an


Pafra & Scott Catledge wrote:

> Listen to your own language: much debris/many debris; less debris/fewer
> debris; that debris and the other/that debris and the other one.  The noun
> "debris" is clearly a mass noun.
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Dennis R. Preston <preston at PILOT.MSU.EDU>
> Sent: Tuesday, July 20, 1999 2:30 PM
> Subject: Re: singular debris?
> > I'm with Arnold on this one. Mass noun it has always been for me (hence,
> > singular-appearing in agreement).
> >
> > dInIs (proud to be with the srtandard-bearers for once)
> >
> > >barbara need asks when DEBRIS became singular.  i've used
> > >it all my life as a mass noun, hence as singular in its
> > >agreement pattern.  and i don't recall ever having heard/seen
> > >it used as a plural count noun; LOTS OF DEBRIS WERE SCATTERED
> > >ON THE BEACH makes me break out all over in asterisks, in fact.
> > >
> > >arnold (zwicky at, in urbana, illinois,
> > >  for another week)

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