Cringe :-[ ouch, how that grates upon my ears. <br /><br />the plural of "ablative absolute" is<br /><br />*ABLATIVES ABSOLUTE*
!!!<br /><br />as it is in the case of "Knights errant" and "Courts martial".<br /><br />Surely we are so much absorbed in our Latin that we are beginning to confuse its "practices syntactical" with those of English where adjectives do not receive plural -s.
If this is the case I am very pleased, for rather than translating Latin, we ought to translate our own minds to it.<br /><br />The judges in the English courts are "Lords Justices". Here, both words take the plural -s because both are nouns, unlike in all of the above examples, where the terms "absolute, errant, martial and syntactical" are adjectives.<br /><br />This is the case not only with single word adjectives. For example, everyone has heard the expression "Justice of the Peace". Here, the phrase "of the Peace" modifies the noun Justice and is working as an adjective. This is why the plural of this designation is<br /><br />"Justices of the Peace" and not "Justice of the Peaces" ::)<br /><br />Or again, to drive the point ad nauseam, there is an organization of volunteer physicians who dedicate their time to helping underdeveloped nations. They are known by their French name as "Médecins sans Frontièrs" or in the English translation as "Doctors without borders", where the phrase "without borders" is equivalent to the adjective "borderless". These Physicians would thus be<br /><br />"Doctors borderless" and not "Doctor borderlesses".<br /><br />Some more examples:<br /><br />Attorneys general (according to my friend the papers are always <br /> messing this one up. As a result you are more <br /> likely to have heard about the Attorney generals.)<br /><br />Tacos Supreme (my personal favourite. Yes next time you go to <br /> Taco Bell be sure to ask for three *Tacos <br /> Supreme*)<br /><br />Fools Illiterate (You too can now make fun of your friends by <br /> by placing them among the ranks of these. ;D<br /><br />Alcoholics Anonymous (I dunno who these folks is.)<br /><br /><br />To test whether one of these is correct or not, you must be able to flip the order. It will not work unless you have it right. If we flip all of these around we get (bottom to top)<br /><br />anonymous Alcoholics as opposed to anonymouses alcoholic<br />illiterate Fools illiterates fool<br />supreme tacos supremes taco<br />general Attorneys generals attorney<br />martial courts martials court<br />errant knights errants knight and<br />absolute ablatives absolutes ablative<br /><br />If you read each of these columns from right to left, in the manner of the Arab, you will find (1) in the right column: what people usually say, and (2) in the left column: the proper expressions. <br /><br />Taking them again from left to right serves as a check and certifies the column on the left as valid.<br /><br /><br />This exercise in pedantry<br />brought to you by,<br /><br />Classicists pedantiK<br /><br />PD Yes we Classical scholars are extremely pedantiK if nothing else.<br />::)<br /><br />well, I hope you have all enjoyed this, <br />and that I have not offended anyone with my jests.<br />I only mean well, and even if it hurt a little, though you are <br />angry with me for a while you are sure not to forget this lesson.<br /><br />amicably,<br />Sebastian<br /><br /><br />PPD believe me, on occasions several have I been reprimanded by the Police grammatical, notably in my undergraduate Classics department at UC by the kind and well-intentioned Dr. Gotoff, whose lessons I now pass on.
<br /><br />PPPD Hey, who ever said that in English adjectives must precede their nouns? >:(