plural people

George Thompson george.thompson at NYU.EDU
Wed Apr 12 16:59:08 UTC 2006

Well, when we say "the Smiths are coming", we mean two or more people.
When a broadcaster refers to "the Mantles" or whoever, when speaking of
"playing on the same outfield grass as the Mantles and the diMaggios",
he's only referring to one person, not to Mantle, his wife and sons.


George A. Thompson
Author of A Documentary History of "The African Theatre", Northwestern
Univ. Pr., 1998, but nothing much lately.

----- Original Message -----
From: FRITZ JUENGLING <juengling_fritz at SALKEIZ.K12.OR.US>
Date: Wednesday, April 12, 2006 11:54 am
Subject: Re: plural people

> George,
> out of curiosity, why does it strike you as being "pointless,
> inane, and stupid"?
> What about pluralizing names of people who are not ballplayers,
> e.g. "The Smiths are coming to dinner tonight" or that old phrase
> 'Keep up with the Joneses"?
> fritz
> >>> george.thompson at NYU.EDU 4/12/2006 8:16 AM >>>
> For msome years I have been struck (and annoyed) at the habit of some
> sports broadcasters of pluralizing the last names of ball-players;
> referring to "the diMaggios, the Mantles, the Berras" and so forth.
> It has always struck me as pointless, inane and stupid.  But it turns
> out to have a long history, as in the following:
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

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