Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The horse raced past the barn fell.

Youth is one of those awkward words in the English language, especially the plural form.
Is it youth or youths?

I was raised in the old school where we were taught that collective nouns are always without the s in the plural, e.g. children, but I accept that language evolves.

The word youth has morphed from my time to todays' internet era.
Youths is readily used nowadays, especially in newspaper reports.
I guess because of a new generation of reporters and journalists.

Though it sounds awful, youths is a correct form of the plural. It really depends on how it's used.

However, 1 group or a person is still youth and you don't say a group of youths.
If there are 2 or more groups, then you can refer to them as youths. e.g. the youth of Singapore and the youth of Malaysia but the youths of Singapore and Malaysia.

Awkward, right? ha ha.
Never mind, just use whatever you think is right.
The easiest way to differentiate is to see whether the persons/group can be counted (youths) or not (youth).

Still don't get it?  The sadistic me is enjoying this!
Wait till you get to garden path phrases like The horse raced past the barn fell or The army push bottles up the enemy.
Then you'll really be scratching your head.



  1. I understand The Army push.. though it did take me a while to get the meaning but I really cant get the meaning of The horse.. Is it really a correct phrase? The sentence don't sound right at all.

  2. OK, to help you understand it a bit more, I'll re-write the sentence with other subjects but keeping entirely to the same format. I am sure you can see the light now with this....
    The car drove past the house crashed.