[Ads-l] hypercorrect pluralization of attributives

Benjamin Barrett mail.barretts at GMAIL.COM
Sat Sep 17 15:42:30 EDT 2016

> On 17 Sep 2016, at 12:28, Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
> On Sat, Sep 17, 2016 at 2:15 PM, Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>> A CNN crawl - admittedly sometimes careless - identifies the late Edward
>> Albee as a "three-times Pulitzer Prize winner."
> Combine that with strings like , "_An_ average (HTF can there be more than
> one _average_?!) little person is three _foot_ tall" and Briticisms like
> "on holiday" and "go missing" and you have to conclude that, at the very
> least, American English is not what it used to be, if it ever was.

I think singular nouns for height are so common as to be safely idiomatic.

She’s five feet eight
She’s five foot eight

The latter sounds better to my ear, perhaps because the number calculator in the brain is treating this like a “five-mile walk". But

She’s five feet eight inches tall
* She’s five foot eight inch tall

Benjamin Barrett
Formerly of Seattle, WA
The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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