[Ads-l] "a homeless"

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Tue Dec 3 20:10:24 EST 2019


Somewhat unusual, but probably not an error.  Lots of instances on the web
(I googled under "a homeless was"), and dictionary entries.  Some but by no
means all are from World Englishes. Examples from (I infer) native speakers:

My time as *a homeless was* hard. I didn't know if I was going to make it.

*homeless* - someone unfortunate without housing; "a homeless was found
murdered in Central Park"

*A homeless was* walking slowly down a dark alley behind office buildings
in Jakarta.

Police [in Las Vegas] say *a homeless was* hit on the head. It's the second
murder of a homeless person in downtown in the past month.

LH

On Tue, Dec 3, 2019 at 7:27 PM Galen Buttitta <
satorarepotenetoperarotas3 at gmail.com> wrote:

> It’s probably an erroneous omission.
>
> – Galen Buttitta, Protagonist
>
> > On Dec 3, 2019, at 19:23, Mark Mandel <markamandel at gmail.com> wrote:
> >
> > "Homeless" is used as a singular noun in this *photo caption* in an NBC
> > News article:
> >
> > A homeless begs for money on April 6, 2018 in New York.
> > *Eduardo Munoz Alvarez / VIEW press/Corbis via Getty Images file*
> >
> > *Headline*:
> > The City of Newark sues New York City, claims NYC is “coercing” homeless
> to
> > move to New Jersey
> > *Dec. 3, 2019, 1:28 PM EST /Updated Dec. 3, 2019, 3:33 PM EST*
> > *•By David K. Li*
> >
> > *URL*:
> >
> https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/city-newark-sues-new-york-city-claims-nyc-coercing-homeless-n1094986
> >
> > As confirmed by the text of the article, the same word in the headline is
> > the usual plural, which normally has no singular. Note that the photo has
> > no direct relation to the story, being over a year and a half older.
> >
> > ------------------------------------------------------------
> > The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>

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


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