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AttorneyS general
They're Not Generals

By Evan Jenkins

The story said a judge "at a minimum will request briefs from the Justice Department, state attorney generals and Microsoft." But when we start with one attorney general and add more, it isn't generals who increase, it's attorneys. That makes the correct plural "attorneys general." It comes out wrong pretty often, especially in speech (including that of attorneys general), and some dictionaries have knuckled under, telling us it's okay either way. It's not, any more than it is, say, with sergeants major or brothers-in-law. With all such, logic limits the choice of plurals to one.


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Sept / Oct 08

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