A variation on new grammatical usage

Those readers who are resident in UK may well have become aware of the modern grammatical usage of the singular for plural values when dealing with nouns of quantity. This probably originated with the London market seller’s cry of “Git yer luvverly English apples ‘ere, five parnd a parnd!”, or, in the common argot “Procure from me some fine English apples at this very stall, for the advantageous price of five pounds (weight) for one pound (sterling currency)”. This usage has become quite common now for weight and currency throughout this blessed realm and may, for all I know, have travelled throughout the English-speaking world.
It was, therefore, a surprise yesterday, when purchasing a newspaper in a Glasgow supermarket, to be asked for “one pounds thirty pee” to complete the transaction. I commented to the girl at the counter that she had used the plural for a single quantity, but she seemed unperturbed at the thought.
Ach well, such is the evolution of language and usage and old fogies such as myself just have to put up with it.


One Response to “A variation on new grammatical usage”

  1. joared Says:

    Interesting you are hearing singular vs plural usage as you describe. Have heard a bit of that myself, here in the USA.

    I am sometimes confused by speakers who use pronouns i.e. he/she, him/her indiscriminately. Does encourage conversation as I seek clarification.

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