English is not my native language, Spanish is. I also speak Italian, Portuguese and I am fluent one hundred percent in all these languages. But I admit that I make typos and several mistakes when I write in my non-native languages, but I always try to learn and speak better, even in Spanish and I am always willing to learn from my mistakes. That is why I am a serious critic of misconduct in expressions in the languages mentioned above.
So here it goes, my pet peeve of today: Troop VS Trooper
I often hear reporters on American TV channels talking about “troops”. The first time when I listened to that word being misused was when the war in Afghanistan was being announced by different TV reporters back in October 2001.
They were mentioning the amount of “troops” that President George Bush was sending. I was astonished! They said ten thousand of them were parting from USA. So I started to make my own calculations and said well, if a troop has a minimum of 3 to 5 platoons;
One platoon has 2 to 4 squads, and each squad has 10 to 14 troopers or soldiers, then a platoon has about 50 soldiers, then a troop has a minimum of 250 men. If President George Bush was sending 10,000 troops then he was sending about 2, 500,000 (two and a half million) soldiers or troopers!
And next week they said more “troops” were leaving to the Middle East. By then I knew how erroneous and non-well educated in their own language they were: when they were saying “troops” they were referring to a singular, to one man, which is wrong.
For some English speakers a “trooper” is a mounted soldier. For others, a “trooper” is a policeman who patrols the roads of a U.S. state in a car.
As to “how a plural word becomes singular,” the answer has to be “by being used that way.”
However, just because a usage is widespread or has been added to a dictionary doesn’t mean that it is worth adopting.