Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Grammatical Quandaries

So just before I turn in, I got to pondering a couple of linguistic conundra:

1. Is 'politics' singular or plural?

2. If one uses the initials for a thing, such as ATM or LCD, and one is referring to only one of said initialized thingy, does the choice of 'a' or 'an' depend on the consonant or vowel in the initialization, i.e. 'an ATM', or on the actual first word, i.e. 'a LCD' since the first word is really 'Liquid'?

Ok, now you won't be able to sleep either. You're welcome.



Turtle said...

Sorry dudage, but no sleep lost here.

1. Politics is a singular noun.

2. Depends upon the verbalization of the acronym. If it "spelled out" such as LCD or NSA, and it has a vowel sound, then it is "an". If it is a consonant sound, than "a". An NSA agent. If it is a sounded out acronym like "NASA", then it depends upon the letter it begins with. A NASA program...


celebhith said...

Turtle is totally right! I didn't think most people would know about the acronyms. . . because LCD is pronounced "el see de" it would be AN LCD.

H is an interesting letter for this kind of thing. . you have
A house, but you have AN honest man. . . all depends on the pronounciation of the word

Stinkypaw said...

I'd say Politics is singular and my Oxford (Canadian) Dictionary says "treated as sing. or pl." - so either way is good - yay!

celebhith said...

There's a name for plural singular nouns (and for all I know, that's it), but I can't remember it. . . it's interesting because Americans and Brits treat them differently:

We would say the family IS happy in their new home; Brits would say the family ARE happy in their new home. . . ETC. . .