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Re: Singular/Plural

Hello Kitty,
Do not know the whys, but unless I watch myself I do the same.... tend to use the plural. After all you are talking about a "bunch of stuff" under one name. Often it does not feel right to use one Latin name for all those plants without throwing an S on the end. There are also two *dialects*, customs, here for me. One is common speech.. The other is garden writing. I write differently than I speak in some ways. Especially the rules of grammar and the technical issues of labels, etc. Bit like a "high" and "low or common" dialect of a language??
I feel like I am among friends here, so to be honest, I do not worry all that much about every word that I use or do not use. I try to watch my mouth a bit, maintain my manners, and then go on from there.
To be honest, I am self taught in gardening and most of the rest of my life. What I do and do not know you can drive semi loads through without touching.
Gene E. Bush
Munchkin Nursery & Gardens, llc
Zone 6/5 Southern Indiana

----- Original Message ----- From: <kmrsy@comcast.net>
No Gene. As I mentioned before, it is not a matter of correct or
incorrect usage, just a SOP sort of thing. You've been around a lot more
gardeners, experts, and writers than most of us. Have you noticed this
tendency toward certain pronouns for types of plants? I do understand
that Helleborus foetidus is singular, refers to a single plant. H.f. is
used with singular verbs and can be replaced by singular pronouns. But
in common, casual usage have you noticed people often drift into using
plurals when discussing perennials or annuals, even when the subject is
a single species?

When gardeners talk about plants in the genus Viburnum, they speak of
Viburnums and substitute with they and them. When people discuss
Viburnum lentago, they'll use the pronoun, it, unless specifically
talking about a grouping of, or all the cultivars of, the Wild Raisin.

But when we talk about Asarum europeaum, a perennial, we can go either
way, singular or plural, depending on the conversation. Discussion of
the details of European Ginger might lend itself to use of the singular,
but as a casual conversation progresses about the plant regarding its
habit and how it performs, we can find ourselves using the plural.

I'm not talking rules, right or wrong, just something I've noticed. Have
you? I asked my sister, an English professor, about it. She agreed that
it is not a matter of 'correctness' and that if it is acceptable within
a field of study, there is no reason to readjust for grammatical
perfection. I asked if there might be a term for this phenomonon, but
she couldn't think of one.

So, Gene, am I just nuts (Jim, just let Gene answer that part) or is this something you've noticed in horticulture?


-------------- Original message --------------
Hello Kitty,
I meant Helleborus... more than one... I think. I was referring to more
than one cultivar and the species Helleborus foetidus. Plural. Perhaps I am
incorrect in the usage...... ???
Gene E. Bush
Munchkin Nursery & Gardens, llc
Zone 6/5 Southern Indiana

----- Original Message ----- From:
> Daryl,
> Sorry, I guess I was assuming some things.
> When someone refers to Lonicera, a shrub or vine, I - and I thought > most
> people - think in terms of singles. When someone refers to Helleborus,
> perennials, the plural comes to mind.
> There is no hard and fast rule - no rule at all really - just the > manner
> in which I've heard gardeners talk or write. From Pam's clarification,
> it appears she did mean the Hellebores. Perhaps I shouldn't have jumped
> in to explain on her behalf, though. Sorry.
> Kitty
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