Monday, May 3, 2010

quicko: trumps

Not "trump." Not sure why, but it sure bugs me.

2 comments:

Garry with 2 Rs said...

Ah… well in that case.

That’s a really interesting (well...)set of phrases. It comes down to whether trump is an adjective or a noun, or indeed a verb (as in “spades trump diamonds”) and also whether you interpret the names of the suits – spades, clubs, diamonds and hearts - as being plural nouns, or singular names. And then the copula in the middle will agree with that, so depending on where you learned to play, you might get any of the following

Spades is trump
?? Spades is trumps
Spades are trump
Spades are trumps

I don’t know enough about cards to say which of these, if any, is the technically correct description, although I’m pretty sure the second one doesn’t work.

KIM said...

So "trump" can easily be an adjective in the subject:

The trump suit is hearts.

And easily be a verb (in which case I have no qualms with it obtaining an "s"):

My blog trumps your blog.

My query is when it appears in the predicate, in which case American usage dictates it does not receive an "s":

Spades are trump.

(I do interpret the suits as being plural nouns. I suppose you might not have to, but, in my linguistic opinion, they are plural. Why make things sound bad if you don't have to?)

In conclusion, I vote in this order:

(c) Spades are trump.
(a) Spades is trump.
(d) Spades are trumps.
(b) Spades is trumps.

And finally, you really ought to learn more about cards.