Friday, October 15, 2010


WHY DO I CARE that a person who commented on my BLOG used the word "cohorts"? Why did I NEED to correct him by letting him know that "cohort" is plural? Would I care if he hadn't been critical of the Southern Poverty Law Center?

WHY DO I CARE that a local educator used the phrase "most unique"? Why did I NEED to correct him by letting him know that unique is a superlative which stands alone? Would I care if I respected him?

WHY DO I CARE that another local educator pronounced phethora as
"pluh-thor-uh"? Why did I NEED to correct him with the correct pronunciation? Would I care if I could tolerate him?

WHY DO I CARE about someone saying "I feel badly"? Why do I NEED to correct her by sarcastically asking, "Do you also feel sadly and gladly?" Would I care if she weren't such a supercilious snob?

WHY DO I CARE about people not knowing the difference between transitive and intransitive verbs? Why do I NEED to let them know? Would I care if they didn't think they can write?

Oh, I'm just so introspective!


Anonymous said...


Cohort can be singular or plural, according to Webster, as it refers to a group or to individuals:

Definition of COHORT
a : one of 10 divisions of an ancient Roman legion b : a group of warriors or soldiers c : band, group d : a group of individuals having a statistical factor (as age or class membership) in common in a demographic study (a cohort of premedical students)
: companion, colleague. a few of their…cohorts decided to form a company — Burt Hochberg>
Examples of COHORT

1. The police arrested the gang's leader and his cohorts.
2. Depression was a common problem for people in that age cohort.

5. an accomplice; abettor: He got off with probation, but his cohorts got ten years apiece.

The reason you fixated on what you perceived to be an error in my post is that it allowed you to completely sidestep the point of my post:

NOT ONE of the SPLC's top ten, highest paid officers is a minority

Your introspection is admirable, but it doesn't change the fact that the SPLC discriminates against people of color. (Or do you prefer "persons of color"?)

Richard Keefe

Sue's News said...


So, WHY was it you capitalized "White"? That's was my only "fixation" from your screed!

Anonymous said...


I capitalize White for the same reasons I capitalize Black, Asian, and Hispanic.

How come you're okay with the fact that "the nation's leading civil rights organization" is an all-White affair?

It certainly bothers me... and my cohorts, too.

Sue's News said...


It'll be a shock to NAACP and La Raza to learn they are not "the nation's leading civil rights organizations"! I know for certain that the SPLC is NOT an "all-white affair"! Do you also capitalize "albino" along with "white" and "black"?

Just because a dictionary has something cited doesn't mean it is good usage! Of course I rely on the Oxford Dictionary of the English Language and it does mention the misuse of the word "cohorts" in the United States.

It's impressive that you have "10 divisions of a legion" following you!

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, my copy of the Oxford Dictionary of English (2nd edition) still states that "cohort" can be used in the singular or the plural:

cohort /'kh:t/

→ noun
1. [treated as sing. or pl.] an ancient Roman military unit, comprising six centuries, equal to one tenth of a legion.

2. [treated as sing. or pl.] a group of people with a shared characteristic: a cohort of civil servants patiently drafting legislation.

• a group of people with a common statistical characteristic: the 1940–4 birth cohort of women.

3. (derogatory) a supporter or companion.

Here are the names and faces of the SPLC's top ten, highest paid executives.

Just point out which ones are black, asian, hispanic or albino and I'll concede the point. They all look white to me.

After all, refusing to acknowledge when one is wrong is mere bigotry, is it not?


→ noun
[mass noun] intolerance towards those who hold different opinions from oneself.

Mona Lisa said...

Everyone except this guy knows you're right! MY copy of the Oxford shows that "cohorts" is a U.S. corruption. VERY unique! (oooooooh, forgive me, I know better!)

Suzy, of course you're TOLERANT--you still speak to family members who "hold different opinions"!

Anonymous said...

Curiouser and curiouser, the OED online traces the use of "cohorts" back to Edward Gibbon's "Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire," (1781), but really, what did Gibbon know about the English language?

The OED makes no claims at all of "cohorts" being a "corruption," but merely its use in the U.S. going back more than fifty years:

5. An assistant, colleague, accomplice. Chiefly U.S.

Even in its most literal sense as "a body or group" of individuals the grouping itself can be singular or plural.

One can see a gaggle of geese fly overhead and in the course of a day one may see several gaggles flying overhead.

But again, the question of cohort or cohorts, White or white are entirely irrelevant to the actual point of the discussion. Such pedantic exercises are simply distractions to avoid addressing the main theme of the original post:

NOT ONE of the SPLC's top ten, highest paid officers is a minority