15 January 2008

Be specific, General general

I don't learn something new everyday. Today I did.

If you have 50 states, each with an Attorney General, you have 50 Attorneys General, not 50 Attorney Generals. I didn't realize until I heard "Attorneys General" on the radio today, that 'general' in this instance means the opposite of 'specific', not a military commander. I did know it was not a military post, but I always thought that it just had an antiquated name, perhaps because it was established back when the attorney was a general in the military or something. And that fact that we often talk about the Attorney General or the Surgeon General of the United States, there is no need to use the plural.

By the way, I saw someone smoking today... I wonder what past Surgeons General would have to say about that!

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