"Do you do Taco Hell?" / "bus" as non-count n.

Charles Doyle cdoyle at UGA.EDU
Fri Dec 8 13:21:58 UTC 2006

And we discussed the uncounting of "prom" a few months ago.

I used to suppose that a similar development (if it is a development) was more advanced in British English--and among Americans affecting British manners:  "at table," "in hospital," "at university," etc.  But, of course, we normal folks say "in bed," "at school," "go to college."

Speaking of busses (or "buses" as it's generally spelled nowadays):  My university has an extensive (and rather impressive) inter-campus bus system (it's an immense campus).  I hobbled onto bus yesterday and noticed a sign asking that the front seats be reserved for "seniors."  Nicely ambiguous for a campus bus!


---- Original message ----
>Date: Thu, 7 Dec 2006 17:22:15 -0800
>From: Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM>
>Subject: "Do you do Taco Hell?" / "bus" as non-count n.
>I was sitting just in front of a pair of college kids on a bus on Nov. 21.  One was from a California college. She asked her friend,  "Do you do Taco Hell ?"  Of course this meant "Do you patronize Taco Bell restaurants ?"  Tens of thousands of RG's for "Taco Hell."
>  Perhaps of greater interest was the question, "So am I going to spend $100 this weekend riding bus ?"
>  "Bus" as a non-count n.?  This is strange to me.  And yet my neighbor in grad school one year (1977-78)  used to reminisce about "driving truck" in Ohio, and in Tennessee I was once asked, "Do you ever ride bike ?"
>  In all three cases the speakers (white) showed no other indication of "final cluster reduction."  So I believe tsomething is going on with certain vehicular idioms, something that, fortunately, has passed me by.
>  JL

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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