“To All Staff
Due to the current financial situation caused by the slowdown of the
economy in the country since last Christmas, Management has decided to implement a scheme to put workers of 40 years of age on early retirement. This scheme will be known as RAPE (Retire Aged People Early). Persons selected to be RAPED can apply to management to be eligible for the SHAFT scheme (Special Help After Forced Termination). Persons who have been RAPED or SHAFTED will be reviewed under the SCREW scheme (Scheme Covering Retired Early Workers).
A person may be RAPED once, SHAFTED twice and SCREWED as many times as Management deems appropriate. Persons who have been RAPED can only get AIDS (Additional Income for Dependants or Spouses) or HERPES (Half Earnings for Retired Personnel Early Severance).
Obviously persons who have AIDS or HERPES will not be SHAFTED or
SCREWED any further by management. Persons staying on will receive as much SHIT (Special High Intensity Training) as possible. Management has always prided itself on the amount of SHIT it gives employees. Should you feel that you do not receive enough SHIT, please bring it to the attention of the supervisor. They have been trained to give you all the SHIT you can handle.”
Just wondering … it has ‘persons’ (yes, I got it from a German speaker).
How do we differentiate?
And we spend some of our classroom time working on plurals of nouns that are exceptions to the rule. Then I cringe when I hear native speakers say stuff like: ‘I booked a table for 8 persons’!
You’ve got a good point. My feeling would be that “persons” sounds like “certain individuals” who are a little unsavory (ungenießbar, anrüchig) or even criminal. That’s probably why it sounds so bad when someone tells you “Your contact persons here are Mr Schwarz and Ms Rot.” Much better: “Your contact people here are Martin Schwarz and Susanne Rot.”
The only place I would expect “persons” is in the context of the “Missing Persons” or “Persons Missing” register for people who have disappeared. Does that sound right to you? Do you say that in Ireland too?
Anyway, so “persons” here actually accentuates the joke, because these poor people are not just getting screwed, they’re being called names (“you persons you!”) too…. I think. You too? Anne
Thanks Anne, you’ve come up with a good explanation there, I’d agree – for Ireland or otherwise.
So, booking a table for ‘8 persons’ is slightly off the wall, don’t you think?