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Lex Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-10-05 04:14 PM
Original message
A "troop" of soldiers is how many? A grammar question . . .
If 3 soldiers die, it's okay to say 3 troops died?

Or should it be 3 soldiers died?

If 3 troops died, technically wouldn't that be a LOT of soldiers?


BTW, I am NOT making fun. I'm just asking a question.




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expatriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-10-05 04:17 PM
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1. troops is a number of individual soldiers....
Edited on Fri Jun-10-05 04:19 PM by expatriot
if it were a troupe, there would be more than one soldier in each troupe. Troupe is a word used to describe a group of performers. But troops are the number of individual soldiers when referred to as a plural. The singular, troop, is not in usage.

You must remember the english language is disorderly and organic, not orderly and symmetric... its not the periodic table.
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underpants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-10-05 04:18 PM
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2. Technically a "troop" is a Cavalry unit
Usually a Head Quarters platoon (mechanics, clerical, etc) and three "line" platoons. The unit I was in had Bradley and later M1 tanks, in total about 120 "troops".

In Armor, Infantry, and all other kinds of units they are called "companies" (based on the long ago practice of hiring people to fight and then selling off your "Company"'s services)

In my unit there was a HQ troop, A, B, C and two helicopter troops.
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Lex Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-10-05 04:23 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. Thanks for the information!
It always strikes my ear wrong for the media to say something like "2 troops were injured today."

But I suppose that usage is common now and it means 2 soldiers.



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underpants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-10-05 04:24 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. Well it can be used to describe any group of soldiers
I guess but I always that (having been a Cav Scout) that it should be exclusive to the Cav.
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expatriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-10-05 04:29 PM
Response to Reply #2
6. As in "F Troop"
But in the Civil War.... Cavalry regiments were broken into companies just as infantry... I understand what you are saying about being the equivalent unit, but am wondering if a cavalry "troop" would be a company sized "task force" -a company sized unit designed to be given more autonomy and independence from its mother-unit.... hence the common usage of the term "troop" in frontier cavalry - when troops of cavalry would operate independently for long periods of time and the using "company" in cavalry of the Civil War, where command was much more tight. I don't know but I like speculating on these things.


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expatriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-10-05 04:20 PM
Response to Original message
3. brief eymology of "troops"
1545, "body of soldiers," from M.Fr. troupe, from O.Fr. trope "band of people, company, troop" (13c.), probably from Frank. *throp "assembly, gathering of people" (cf. O.E. orp, O.N. thorp "village," see thorp). OED derives the O.Fr. word from L. troppus "flock," which is of unknown origin but may be from the Gmc. source. The verb is attested from 1565, "to assemble;" meaning "to march" is recorded from 1592; that of "to go in great numbers, to flock" is from 1610. Trooper "soldier in the cavalry" is first attested 1640; extended to "mounted policeman" (1858, in Australian) then to "state policeman" (U.S.) by 1911.
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