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French expressions in English

From:John Cowan <jcowan@...>
Date:Tuesday, June 27, 2000, 15:07
Christophe Grandsire wrote:

> >Both of those I've heard. But interestingly, pluralization of phrases > >like that tend to be "femme fatales", rather than the French "femmes > >fatales". > > So they see theose phrases as one word only, or they assume that the first > word is always an adjective?
Neither, necessarily. Both plural and possessive "s" are routinely attached to the ends of whole noun phrases in English: "the governor of Florida's wife" = "the wife of the governor of Florida", not "the governor of the wife of Florida". Similarly, the plural of "son-in-law" is "sons-in-law" only in extremely pedantic written form: otherwise, it is "son-in-laws". (Possessive "s" is more flexible than plural "s" in this respect.) An extreme but not inconceivable example, especially in speech, is "That umbrella is the young lady I go with's", where the possessor actually includes a relative clause! -- Schlingt dreifach einen Kreis um dies! || John Cowan <jcowan@...> Schliesst euer Aug vor heiliger Schau, || Denn er genoss vom Honig-Tau, || Und trank die Milch vom Paradies. -- Coleridge (tr. Politzer)