September 14, 2006

Troop

troop (trp)n.

1. A group or company of people, animals, or things.

2.
1. A group of soldiers.
2. troops Military units; soldiers.
3. A unit of cavalry, armored vehicles, or artillery in a European army, corresponding to a platoon in the U.S. Army.

3. A unit of at least five Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts under the guidance of an adult leader.

4. A great many; a lot.

American Heritage Dictionary

Not once does this dictionary definition allude to the idea that the word “troop” is singular!

I’m really tired of the drive-by media flogging grammar like it is its kinky mistress. When you want to refer to a soldier in your news coverage, you say “soldier”, not “troop”. “Troop” is plural. And if you want to refer to more than one soldier in your news coverage, you do not use the word “troops”.

Troop refers to a group that is joined together in a more significant way that a pluralization of one soldier. Think of it, if you will, as a group that was together before suggested incident brought them together for the purpose of news reporting.