1 of 2
1
Gins and tonic
Posted: 08 December 2011 03:00 AM   [ Ignore ]
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1221
Joined  2007-04-28

I have just read this (meaning several drinks) in a British novel (When We Were Bad by Charlotte Mendelson) and it sounded very odd to me. I’d have said gin and tonics and I have never heard gins and tonic before. Has anyone else?

I don’t know if it works grammatically. There is an implied tonic water which is uncountable except it comes in bottles in this case though you can say, I had two gins before breakfast, and, I had two tonic waters after lunch (meaning glasses or bottles?).

Does anyone anywhere say rums and coke? Is it a posh Brit thing like saying pepper and salt instead of salt and pepper?

Profile
 
 
Posted: 08 December 2011 03:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2014
Joined  2007-02-19

it sounded very odd to me

Not only to you.  It sounds just as silly as your analogy “rums and coke” - or as “fishes and chips”, which may not be strictly analogous, but is equally silly. I think you could continue to say - or write - “gin and tonics” without worrying too much (or if you’re still uneasy, try saying “gin-and-tonics” ;-)

Profile
 
 
Posted: 08 December 2011 04:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  443
Joined  2007-10-20

The prescriptivist in me is rebelling but I’d go with whatever is conventional.

There is some logic involved. “Peaches and cream” makes sense because you can count the number of peaches, theoretically. By comparison, there would be no earthly reason to say “blacks and tan” over black and tans.” For example, “The black and tans outnumbered the spaniels and pointers in the canine trials today.”

I’ve seen or heard “scotches and water” but can only assume it makes sense because it’s a whole lot more important to count the number of scotch bottles than the number of CO2 containers. edit: This, of course, is not true, linguistically. One says, “I’ll have a scotch’” whereas one does not say, “I’ll have a water.” Instead the normal expression is, “I’ll have a glass of water.”

[ Edited: 08 December 2011 04:31 AM by Iron Pyrite ]
Profile
 
 
Posted: 08 December 2011 05:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4740
Joined  2007-01-03

Gin and tonic and black and tan are both single semantic units. They are noun phrases that denote single, countable items. Therefore, they should by standard rules take the plural inflection at the end of the phrase, gin and tonics and black and tans. Adding the plural inflection to the first element destroys the integrity of the phrase. Of course, actual usage would trump the rule, but in my experience usage follows the rule in these cases.

I suspect the confusion is because of noun-postmodifier phrases like attorneys general and fathers in-law, where the plural is added to the noun and not the postmodifying adjective.

Peaches and cream and ham and eggs are also single semantic units, a bit different in that they don’t usually denote countable items. You have to add an actual or implied dishes of to make them countable. I’m less certain of what general usage is when using this as count nouns. Personally, I think I would say “two orders of ham and eggs” when I need to denote plural counts, but the necessity doesn’t come frequently enough for me to be sure of my own usage.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 08 December 2011 07:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3100
Joined  2007-02-26

Perhaps the author means it lightheartedly, a one-off joke.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 08 December 2011 08:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3493
Joined  2007-01-29

Perhaps the author means it lightheartedly, a one-off joke.

Either that or it’s the result of an attack of prescriptivist panic, the sort of reflex responsible for so many tortured sentences.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 08 December 2011 09:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2014
Joined  2007-02-19

Quite so - just the sort of panic that leads otherwise perfectly sensible, and often quite literate, people to say things like “thank you for your kindness to my brother and I”

Profile
 
 
Posted: 09 December 2011 03:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1221
Joined  2007-04-28

http://ironic1.com/2008/07/the_plural_of_gin_and_tonic.html
Is a discreet unit the same as a semantic one?

Profile
 
 
Posted: 09 December 2011 04:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4740
Joined  2007-01-03

No, a discreet drink is an Irish coffee or a nip from a hidden flask. Gin and tonics are a more flamboyant drink, although not as flamboyant as anything sporting an umbrella.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 09 December 2011 06:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1221
Joined  2007-04-28

Ah. He meant discrete. I always mix those up but never my drinks.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 09 December 2011 10:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4740
Joined  2007-01-03

I like mixed drinks.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 09 December 2011 12:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2014
Joined  2007-02-19

I’d say a lot depends on the mix. Some of those high-octane after-dinner coffees (coffee, Kahlua, brandy, etc.), which one is offered at many restaurants in North America, go down very well with me - on the other hand, a mixture of beer and crème-de-menthe, which I drank once long, long ago (I was very young, and anxious to get drunk as quickly as possible, and that was what there was) was without doubt the vilest mixed drink I ever tasted. I was sick as a dog. One should keep an open mind ... my motto in old age is “don’t knock it until you’ve tried it”.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 09 December 2011 06:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3100
Joined  2007-02-26

Ah. He meant discrete.
---

Others prefer continuous drinking.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 December 2011 05:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1221
Joined  2007-04-28

Enough with the piss-taking already.

In linguistics (specifically, phonetics and phonology), the term segment may be defined as “any discrete unit that can be identified, either physically or auditorily, in the stream of speech.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 December 2011 02:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2014
Joined  2007-02-19

Is it a posh Brit thing like saying pepper and salt instead of salt and pepper?

I’d no idea saying “pepper and salt” was any sort of Brit thing, let alone “a posh Brit thing”. To the best of my knowledge, pepper and salt (often written hyphenated, i.e. pepper-and-salt, but certainly never spoken hyphenated ;-) means something quite different from salt and pepper, or even from salt-and-pepper; it refers to a particular sort of colouring, mixing light with dark speckles, or to a textile fabric so coloured. Please correct me if I’m mistaken, Brits: do the posh among you say “pepper and salt” when referring to what the hoi polloi usually (I don’t know why, but it’s a fact) call “salt and pepper”?

Profile
 
 
Posted: 28 December 2011 09:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
Rank
Total Posts:  26
Joined  2011-12-27

As a Brit who might once have been considered somewhat ‘posh’ (although I don’t really think it holds any more) I am fairly certain I have never heard salt and pepper being used together with the pepper first, even when describing the hair or fabric colouration. If I ever have, it certainly hasn’t lodged in the memory. Perhaps among the older generation. I suspect if I heard it I would wonder if it was an Americanism.

Aside from that, I remember very clearly how often I was told that a Court Martial could only ever be pluralised to Courts Martial, despite how unnatural it feels to say or write. Gins and tonic, however, and rums and coke seem perfectly natural and right and I think in general I would favour them on paper, but would possibly say gin and tonics instead.

Several blacks and tan or blacks and white (as in the cars), I feel cannot ever be right, as it seems to separate the two words far too much and just sounds plain wrong.

Profile
 
 
   
1 of 2
1
 
‹‹ HD: 1947 Words      Schlepp from Podunk U ››