I want to be plural!

Posted on: May 10, 2013


“We are going to the cinema, care to come?” “We don’t know yet where we are going to spend the hols.” “Repairing the heating cost us a fortune”.

People talk about themselves in the plural form, and I always feel a pang of envy when they do. It means they have somebody they can count on, that they are a part of someone’s life.

With me, it is always “I”. “I could go to the cinema tomorrow. Or just stay home alone hoping some thief shows up for company or prank opportunities.” “I’m not going anywhere for the holidays: first, I have no money, plus, even if I had, travelling alone would just be depressing. I could perhaps bring the thieves with me, though.” “Repairing the heating cost me a fortune and frankly I only repaired it because it was a safety hazard. And while I thought the idea of just falling asleep and sleeping forever was rather appealing, the chimney sweeper found me out so I had to fix it.”

Just my luck, by the way. The only person in my life who is singular is the chimney sweeper, who’s clearly the only one in his trade who doesn’t have a magical nanny with whom to dance on the roof, so he can actually do his job which consists in getting me out of bed at an unholy hour just to tell me that I will need to starve myself in order to be able to save enough money to pay for the privilege of not suffocating.

So, only my chimney sweeper and I are singular, everybody else is plural. I wish I could be plural, too. All the while still wishing I was singular. Actually, I think I need a language where there’s no distinction between singular and plural. I have heard Japanese might do the trick?

It looks like I am developing a phobia for grammar; which by the way has a name (it’s called grammatophobia) and yet doesn’t seem to be a legitimate phobia, so I couldn’t research how this typically works and evolves. I might be the first person affected, ever.

Will this keep to singular and plurals, so I could really solve it by adopting a language with no distinction? Or will it extend to other, more or less random, grammatical elements? Perhaps an urge to punch in the face anybody who shows off with a particularly elaborate construction? And how to make the difference between a normal reaction (anybody would be slightly tense when faced with a past perfect subjunctive tense) and a pathological one (like crossing yourself every time you encounter a cardinal number)?

And will this stay limited to grammar, or will it invade other domains? I wouldn’t be surprised if I started being pissed off at even numbers – I’m always the odd one out, while everybody else comes in pairs. The number 1 is depressing in itself. So will I end up having to buy at least three of anything? Three shoes, three gloves, three watermelons? And what am I going to do with three watermelons anyway? I don’t even like melons, plus according to The Internet, they might be depressing. Or depressed. And shady. Definitely very shady. And possibly on drugs?

turn: terrible, do not eat watermelon, and depressed!!!!!!!

pigment powder with water saccharin tricks, melon conscience exposes insider traders –
Hot summer, eat a sweet red watermelon, both hot weather and thirst. When people of this natural fruit cooing when, who thought of commitment, these red and sweet watermelon, melon actually Meixin traders to earn money, injecting saccharin and coloring the water cooked out of it! Yesterday, a melon trafficking, told reporters this one blew the whistle on shady.
[actual internet wisdom – handbook case of terminal grammatophobia]





16 Responses to "I want to be plural!"

I don’t imagine referring to yourself in the third person would help… I hear you on the ‘I’ thing. My only we is me and my kids. And all they did was complain when I had the furnace replaced in December that it was cold in the house during the transition.

Amara says that the idea has some merit, but the problem is that she should convince all the others, too, that they should refrain from referring to her and to themselves in the plural form…

She also thanks you very much for reading and commenting!

How can someone who claims to suffer from depression be SO damn funny? Great post.

Thank you, you are always so kind 🙂

The thing is, in this blog ends only the funny stuff – or at least, all the stuff I can tweak to make it appear funny.
There are some things that, no matter how hard I try, seem to be only able to result in bleak or resentful texts; I keep trying to make them cheery, but I haven’t managed yet.
And writing or publishing such stuff doesn’t help anyone, least of all me, so they just don’t make it past the approval process!

(I saw your comment on lectorconstans.) There’s a case to be made for being plural. The most well-known example is, of course, the late Queen Victoria, who once said, “We are not amused”. Poor Queen Vicky. But then, life was rather dreary after Albert died.

One could say …. but wait – that’s singular, isn’t it?

I don’t think I’ve heard anyone (other than editors) using the Editorial We.

” I have heard Japanese might do the trick?” Well, yes, but then there’s the matter of their incomprehensible writing (which I’m attempting to learn). Going still further, there are some primitive languages for which the counting system goes “one, two, three, lots”.

Speaking of counting, Japanese has entirely different sets of number names, depending on whether you’re counting animals, or birds, or bottles, or a few other things. (It’s a bit like the gamekeeper’s words for groups of animals. They’d laugh at youi f you referred to a “brace of sheep”. Not only that, but the animals took on entirely different words after they were cooked.;)

Digging into grammar can be daunting. It’s enough to make the past perfect subjunctive tense (imagine a pause before “tense). But I see a cool and collected command of it in your posts.

It’s easy to see how one (sorry) could become depressed after reading such twaddle as “pigment powder with water..”

But be calm, carry on, and by all means, keep your chimney sweep employed. Top hats are so elegant.

Actually chimney sweepers wear a sort of a white cap here – not very distinguished.

Wow, I have a bit of a soft spot for Japan and every now and then I consider enrolling in a course to learn the basics, but what you say makes it appear rather hopeless!

Thanks for commending my use of the past perfect subjunctive tense – to tell you the truth, I am not even quite sure what it is, but if I use it understandably enough, that’s alright to me. English is not my first language.

! ! ! You’re kidding! ! !

I guessed that you’re English, based on “We don’t know yet where we are going to spend the hols.”

Don’t give up on the Japanese just yet. They say that the first new language is always the hardest. (Don’t ask who “they” are.)

If you can, watch some of the great Hayao Miyazaki movies – in Japanese with subtitles. Most available here in the U.S. are dubbed in English (but curiously, no Japanese subtitles). Also Kurosawa. All of these are good, and will get you familiar with the sounds and speech patterns.

They say that the first new language is the hardest. (Don’t ask who “they” are.)

Yes, I’m a big Studio Ghibli fan. Indeed, Someone gave me a whole hard disk full with Japanese anime, all in Japanese with subtitles. Enough to last me for a lifetime, and my brain said, “Alright! So we are learning Japanese, now?” (I can tell that it’s getting ready when I hear random bits of speech and the melody of the language when falling asleep), and I replied: “No, Brain, we are never going far with this language, so it’s not worth it”, but then I am starting to think I catch the odd bit here and then, and it would be interesting to learn at least the very basic sentences, since I’m apparently going to spend hours, days and months listening to Japanese!

“… whole hard disk full …” Do you have a favorite? We just recently saw “From Up on Poppy Hill” (directed by the younger Miyazaki). It has a good story, typically good animation.

One thing that fascinates me is that Miyazaki (Sr) made a movie from an English “young adult” book: “Howl’s Moving Castle”.

PS: Get hold of all the Marx Brothers movies you can. Also Laurel & Hardy. We saw “Night at the Opera” a few days ago. It’s over 75 years old, and still laugh-out-loud funny.

I must be officially in the weird category. I’m an “us” but I regularly say “I” when talking about things in the future. OMG! What does that say about “us”?

I’m sure it doesn’t mean very much – but just to be on the safe side, throw in some quality time with your other half 😉

you are absolutely hilarious. that is all.


I have nominated you for an award. Please look at the end of my DogGs post.

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