A Yorkism that’s a real cut-up

Sorry, the post title is a bad pun courtesy of my husband, who makes bad puns out of anything.

No, today’s Yorkism is about these things:

scissors.jpg

You know, you cut with them, right? But say one of that item was sitting on your counter. What would you call it?

Scissors?

The scissors?

A pair of scissors?

A scissors?

I am open to argument here. I say “a pair of scissors,” which is just as silly as “a pair of jeans.” You can’t have just one blade of the cutting device; you can’t have just one leg worth of denim. So it seems awful dumb to call them “a pair.” I mean, you need the whole thing, right?

But I was reading a story written for the Weekly Record the other day, about taffy, and the writer said to cut it with “a scissors.”

I’ve heard that a lot, but I don’t know if I could justify it grammatically.

Any thoughts??

About Joan

My name is Joan and I'm a lifelong Yorker. Throughout high school and college, I swore I was getting out of here as soon as possible. Now, a few years later, I can't think of anywhere I'd rather be. I love my town, and I hear every day from readers who love their towns, too. So please, connect with me and let's share what makes life in York County great. I'm here to help you enjoy this place as much as I do!
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7 Responses to A Yorkism that’s a real cut-up

  1. Tracey says:

    ‘Has anyone seen the scissors?’

  2. Louise says:

    Boy, Joan, this is starting to give me a headache just thinking about it. I refer to scissors as both singular and plural. It depends on the context. Hmmm….
    Love, Weez

  3. Jo says:

    Agree. I say any of the above, depending, although I don’t use “a pair of scissors” hardly at all any more. Does this read like I’m from Pennsylvania?

  4. Melanie says:

    Long time lurker here. I’m actually reading you from Virginia, but my mom’s family’s been in York County since before York was the capital of the United States. I know I’ve heard my grandmother use ‘a scissors’ or ‘the scissors,’ depending on the situation.
    How about ‘Would you get me the scissors awhile?” ;)

  5. Louise says:

    As a retired English teacher, the problem with the expression lies with the article “a.” Since “scissors” is always a plural noun and “a” is used with the singular form, the two should not be used together. There is nothing incorrect, however, with using the expression ” a pair of scissors.”

  6. Bruce Smith says:

    Apparently your husband is not native of York County, but I found this on Wikipedia and it makes sense to me.
    “The noun “scissors” is treated as a plural noun, and therefore takes a plural verb (“these scissors are”). Alternatively, this tool is also referred to as “a pair of scissors”, in which case it (a pair) is singular and therefore takes a singular verb (“this pair of scissors is”). (In theory each of the two blades of the tool is a “scissor” in its own right, although in practice such usage is seldom heard.”

  7. Bruce Smith says:

    Apparently your husband is not native of York County, but I found this on Wikipedia and it makes sense to me.
    “The noun “scissors” is treated as a plural noun, and therefore takes a plural verb (“these scissors are”). Alternatively, this tool is also referred to as “a pair of scissors”, in which case it (a pair) is singular and therefore takes a singular verb (“this pair of scissors is”). (In theory each of the two blades of the tool is a “scissor” in its own right, although in practice such usage is seldom heard.”

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