Countable folks

Peter A. McGraw pmcgraw at LINFIELD.EDU
Wed Jan 24 21:31:27 UTC 2001

Our college PR director recently commented to me that our president, who is
not especially folksy, had suddenly become fond of using "folks" in
letters, speeches and the like.  My response was that I'd noticed lots of
people using "folks" a lot lately (in preference to "people"), but that the
main thing I'd noticed was a trend toward making "folks" countable.  I
think it was probably about 7-8 years ago that I began to notice other
people using the word in ways that at least came awfully close to
countability.  I can't remember actual quotes, but these new usages seemed
to at least test the boundaries that constrain my own uses of the word.
Lately I've actually heard people (oops, sorry--folks) refer to "three or
four folks," which definitely goes beyond my boundaries.

Has anybody else noticed this?  Or has it been around for a long time and
I'm only now noticing it?  Or have other folks always been able to count

Peter Mc.

                               Peter A. McGraw
                   Linfield College   *   McMinnville, OR
                            pmcgraw at

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