Goods / a/the good
Posted: 11 March 2012 04:31 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Recently I have picked up on what is to me an unusual use of ‘goods’ in the singular on Scottish forums.

More than one has referred to ‘the good’ when talking about what I would normally call a ‘product’.

Example:

“Are you less likely to purchase a good or service that sponsors or has sponsored one of your least favoured teams?”

Is this just an isolated case of bad grammar (’goods’ to me is a collective plural for a multitude of products) or has anyone else picked up on this trend outside of Scotland?

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Posted: 11 March 2012 05:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Occasionally used in singular according to OED. (I’ve given the two singular cites.)

good, adj., adv. and n.

8. spec.
a.

(a) (Now only as a countable noun, chiefly pl., but occas. in sing.) Saleable commodities, merchandise, wares (now chiefly applied to manufactured articles).

a1533 Ld. Berners tr. Bk. Duke Huon of Burdeux (1882–7) xlviii. 160 They‥had myche good in theyr shyppe.

1936 Q. Jrnl. Econ. May 436 All that follows will hold true of any storable good, like cotton, wool, rubber, tobacco, wheat, coffee, sugar, oil, copper, or tin; but the theory will be expounded in terms of only one of these, namely cotton, because it is easier to deal with a particular case.

Never heard it down here in the South of England.

[ Edited: 11 March 2012 05:50 PM by aldiboronti ]
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Posted: 11 March 2012 07:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I’ve encountered this, rarely, in commodities articles etc. Always struck me as very peculiar but it does seem to be out there.

e.g.

http://answers.ask.com/Business/Other/what_is_futures_trading

Futures are used to protect from price fluctuation of an underlying commodity. This commodity may be a good such as wheat, or a currency. Businesses who depend on that good or currency for their business invest in futures to help manage the uncertainty of the future, ie to protect against the price of wheat going up.

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Posted: 11 March 2012 09:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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In Spanish, the plural form bienes can mean both “goods”, i.e. merchandise, and also “assets” in general; and the singular, un bien, means simply an article or an asset. I think in French it’s much the same. “A good” seems to have fallen out of use in English speech (it clearly sounds very odd to BlackGrey and OP Tipping), but it makes perfect sense nevertheless.
I think there may be quite a few words, which an Englishman would consider archaic, still alive and well and living North of the River Tweed. My late first wife, a native of Edinburgh, would every now and then come up with such usages. One which I found particularly endearing, was to call zero “nothing” (2012 would be two-nothing-one-two). Other English speakers do the same, occasionally: for instance, calling zero “naught”, which is rather more old-fashioned than “nothing”.

[ Edited: 11 March 2012 10:17 PM by lionello ]
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Posted: 12 March 2012 08:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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lionello - 11 March 2012 09:30 PM

...  One which I found particularly endearing, was to call zero “nothing” (2012 would be two-nothing-one-two). Other English speakers do the same, occasionally: for instance, calling zero “naught”, which is rather more old-fashioned than “nothing”.

Are you sure they weren’t saying “nought”? I’m fairly certain that, in my idiolect at least (West London), I pronounce “naught” and “nought” exactly the same, and I would certainly say “nought point one” for 0.1.

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Posted: 12 March 2012 09:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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I’d have thought nought too but

nought [nɔːt]
n also naught ought aught
(Mathematics) another name for zero: used esp in counting or numbering
n & adj & adv
a variant spelling of naught
[Old English nōwiht, from ne not, no + ōwiht something; see whit]

Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged

In some northern dialects owt/nowt are something/nothing. I’m pretty sure I’ve read in old texts along the lines of “Is there ought that bothers you?” ie anything.

ought3
n
a less common word for nought (zero)
[mistaken division of a nought as an ought; see nought]

Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged

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Posted: 12 March 2012 03:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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I’ve heard “nothing” used in sports scores, e.g. “They thrashed us five nothing.”

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Posted: 12 March 2012 04:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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“They thrashed us five nothing.”

Fairly common in the US, too.

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Posted: 13 March 2012 12:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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This bodes aught that is good. I read that somewhere and have just recalled it.

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Posted: 13 March 2012 01:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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’My other piece of advice, Copperfield,’ said Mr. Micawber, ‘you know. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery. The blossom is blighted, the leaf is withered, the god of day goes down upon the dreary scene, and-and in short you are for ever floored. As I am!’

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Posted: 13 March 2012 02:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Are you sure they weren’t saying “nought”?

Whether English speakers say “naught” or “nought”, they are saying exactly the same thing in either case.

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Posted: 14 March 2012 05:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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lionello - 13 March 2012 02:39 PM

Are you sure they weren’t saying “nought”?

Whether English speakers say “naught” or “nought”, they are saying exactly the same thing in either case.

While the OED says “naught” “equals nought” in almost every meaning, it says “naught” meaning “zero” is strictly US: certainly my own usage, and my impression of British usage in general, is to use “naught” in expressions such as “it all came to naught”, and to reserve “nought” strictly for “zero”. But it’s true that if I was speaking, you couldn’t tell which one I was using.

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Posted: 14 March 2012 02:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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But it’s true that if I was speaking, you couldn’t tell which one I was using.

Well, that’s what I said.

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