chad is like fish...

Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Wed Nov 29 17:34:55 UTC 2000

At 05:13 PM 11/29/00 +0000, you wrote:
> > We've seen countable chad ('pregnant chads'), mass chad ('lots of
> > chad'), and now zero-morpheme plural chad, as indicated by the verb
> > agreement in the last sentence below.
> >
> >... Chad are
> > the tiny pieces of paper that pop out of a ballot when a voter
> > chooses a candidate.

AFAIK, this is a recent error. I've not seen any authoritative or informed
reference (pre-election) using "chad" as a true plural (e.g., "two chad").

Actually, "chad" seems to resemble "hair": "one hair", "two hairs", "a pile
of hair".

Some poorly-informed (or misquoted?) 'experts' on the Web and in the media
recently have asserted that "chad" is like "sheep" ("one sheep", "two
sheep"): this seems to arise from a confusion between a plural and a "mass
noun". Some also have stated confidently (absolutely falsely, of course)
that "chad" cannot be used as a countable noun at all.

When the press gets in a hurry, any loud voice will do.

-- Doug Wilson

More information about the Ads-l mailing list