singular debris?

Pafra & Scott Catledge scplc at GS.VERIO.NET
Wed Jul 21 22:53:49 UTC 1999

That usage is more of a limited count noun than a plural.  I do not think
that you would hear two debris anymore than you would two guts; you could
hear "he's got lots of guts" as an alternative to "a lot of guts."
----- Original Message -----
From: Arnold Zwicky <zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU>
Sent: Tuesday, July 20, 1999 9:38 AM
Subject: Re: singular debris?

> 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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