chad is like fish...

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Wed Nov 29 05:22:20 UTC 2000

At 12:34 PM -0500 11/29/00, Douglas G. Wilson wrote:
>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.
Wasn't that a Dr. Seuss book?
"One Chad, Two Chad, Red Chad, Blue Chad"
--where "red" and "blue", as you'll recall, designate Republican and
Democratic on the network electoral maps.


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