This week’s musings are brought to us, for the first time, by Saintseester! Last week, she wrote to me and said:
Three things have been bugging me, lately. Why they are bugging me, I cannot reason.
Pleaded vs. Pled: I swear a long time ago, every used pled for the past tense, as in, “He pled guilty at his trial.” Now, everyone uses pleaded.
Dreamed vs. Dreamt : same thing. Dreamt sounds better to me. Which one is correct?
Finally, the proliferation of signs I see that have the word persons instead of people. As in, persons should use the sauna at their own risk, or maximum capacity: 104 persons. (That last one almost caused me a coronary.) Why? Isn’t people a perfectly good plural form of person?
Seester, I believe it’s true that I’ve asked the same questions about pleaded and pled and dreamed and dreamt (and, if memory serves, both questions came from Kizz). Let me see if I can find the entries… hold please… ah, yes; here‘s the one for the forms of plea and here‘s where you can find a discussion about the dream/dreamt question.
As far as the persons/people debate, I’m with you. I think of persons as being a hyper-formal form in a Law and Order or NYPD Blue sort of way, as in “the dispatcher said “there’s a break-in at the liquor store; unknown number of persons involved.” The only time I don’t think persons sounds weird is when I’m talking to cops (and, since TCC is a sort of pre-cop school, I actually hear that plural form more than you’d guess). I think, though, that in everyday speech – signs and placards included – people is a perfectly acceptable plural.
Happy Wednesday, Everyone!!