new is not news, but they clearly knew each other, etymologists claim

a common mistake i frequently hear in class is confusion between the adjective new and the uncountable noun news. u should never say a news, and even with a creative spelling like the one used by this 80s band, u still should never pluralize new (nu) or any adjective in english–news shoes? no way

fun esl practice :) richyrocks english on youtube

with this in mind, i was a little surprised to find this etymological analysis by david mikkelson on the fact-checking site…

[the] explanation sounds a bit odd to us, because new is an adjective and not a noun, so how could it have a plural form? the answer is that although adjectives don’t generally have plurals in english, they do in other languages. in some romance languages, for example, adjectives change to agree in number with the nouns they modify. in spanish a white house is a casa blanca, but white houses are casas blancas. likewise, in french a tall woman is a grande femme, but tall women are grandes femmes. when nouveau, the french word for new, modifies a plural (feminine) noun, it becomes nouvelles, which is also the french word for news. not so strange after all.

odd is strange, weird. although contrasts ideas. it is similar to but–like but it can appear between the two contrasting ideas; different from but it can appear before the two contrasting ideas like it does in this example. the romance languages evolved from latin and include spanish, french, italian, portuguese and romanian.  modify refers to the extra detail that adjectives give to nouns.  likewise means in the same way.  after all means despite appearing to be the opposite.

meme of mr. bean making a skeptical, squished up face the text reads hmm that sounds a little odd--vocabulario en inglés

it does sound odd at first, but it’s actually not that odd after all 

so the origin of the word news in english is the plural of new in french.  snopes is an investigative website and they were actually debunking (showing that it’s not true) the idea that news is an acronym composed of the words north, east, west and south or notable events, weather and sports. additionally snopes debunks another proposed acronym….

likewise, the word ‘newspaper’ is not an acronym formed from the words “north, east, west, south, past and present event report.” a newspaper is so named because it is literally paper on which has been printed information about recent events (i.e., ‘news’).

i.e. comes from the latin id est. it means that is or in other words.

the english practice extra video for this post has several examples of correct and incorrect ways to use new and news. click CC for subtitles in english or spanish.

do u have any questions or comments about this post or the video? share them under leave a reply


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *