Keep It Singular

Dec 15 2012 @ 11:19am

Anthony Gardner rants against "the use of the plural where the singular has always been used before, and indeed would make much more sense":

I first noticed the shift a few months ago when another speaker on Radio 4 came out with "geographies". For a while I thought it might be confined to academia; then I realised that it was creeping into the high-faluting vocabulary beloved of arts organisations. One spoke proudly of its "artistic outputs" and what the public wanted "in terms of outcomes".

Even so, I felt reasonably confident that this would never spread to the world at large. But then, suddenly, I found new examples coming at me every day: watching the YouTube video of a political seminar, I heard a historian pontificating about "socialisms" and "desirable futures"; opening an email from a novelist, I discovered a blithe reference to "fictions"; browsing a press release from the ICA, I came upon "the interrelationships between African and European political histories". …

So what lies ahead? Will we be subjected to "contradictory thinkings", "beautiful lyricisms" and "heartfelt mournings"? Almost certainly. The nonsenses of using plurals are merely in their infancies.