(dis)agreement with "all politics is local"

Douglas Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Wed Jun 23 03:49:35 UTC 2004

> For Rell, "politics" is evidently a collective plural, so that it
> really *should* have been "All politics are local" instead.  Or is it
> the "all" that she thinks makes it plural?  Would we say "All
> linguistics are tricky"?  "All mathematics are hard"?  (Note that
> it's not purely a formal question --while it is indeed possible to
> have "all statistics are biased", that's a real count noun, the
> singular "that statistic is biased" being impeccable as well.)

For most folks, I suppose things which look like plurals are treated as
plurals; e.g., "species" is transparently the plural of "specie" (as in
"endangered specie") which I suppose is by far the most frequent sense of
"specie" among the post-literati on the Web.

I suppose in principle it could be that "politics" is being treated as an
uncountable but grammatically plural item such as "wastes", "dregs",
"refinery bottoms", "mine tailings", etc. The company seems right. (^_^)

What about "polemics"? Or "histrionics"? Hmm, not so easy, at least for me.

-- Doug Wilson

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