Work on regional variation in mass/count nouns?

Arnold M. Zwicky zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU
Mon May 14 18:53:25 UTC 2007

On May 14, 2007, at 9:18 AM, Dennis Preston wrote:

> Carol G. Preston (the former Carol Guagliardo, of Milwaukee birth and
> upbringing) has all such two-handled jointed tools as a + "plural" (a
> pliers, a scissors, a clippers, with an interesting lack of intuition
> about "nail clippers" as opposed to "grass clippers").

my original (Pa. Dutch-English-influenced) usage also.  after years
of working on it, i've managed to get to variable usage, mostly the
"a" variant in speech and entirely (i think) the "a"-less variant in
writing.  i also reject "a grass clippers" but am unsure about "a
nail clippers".  similar problems with "needle-nosed pliers" and the


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