General Question

Kraigmo's avatar

How many troopers are in a troop?

Asked by Kraigmo (8685points) October 4th, 2009

The headlines today say “10 troops died”. So how many troopers is that?

And if it’s 10… at what point in history did we start calling troopers “troops” ?

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7 Answers

dpworkin's avatar

A troop is an aggregation. In military usage it is commonly an army. A trooper is a single soldier.

Darwin's avatar

Ah, yes, English as an evolving language. Yes, the correct answer would be 10, and it probably started because some talking head thought it sounded “professional.”

The long definition of the words troops and troop.

TheIncomparableBenziniBrothers's avatar

William Safire wrote a piece about this.

He says:

Troops no longer refers to groups of people but to persons. ’‘Three thousand troops’’ does not mean that many small groups, but 3,000 individuals, almost always soldiers. Why? No special reason; it’s a quirk of language. Usage trumps grammatical purity. Learn to live with troops, the plural noun, meaning ’‘that many individuals.’’

Now we come to the deeper question: How to refer to one troop—a single member of the armed forces. Trooper won’t do; usage, in its persnickety way, has largely confined its meaning to members of the state police.

laureth's avatar

Q: How many troopers are in a troop?

A: Is “don’t ask, don’t tell” still the policy?

YARNLADY's avatar

Soldiers are only “people” to their families. In the service of their country, they become “troops”. This is not for the purpose of dehumanizing them, but rather to give a military advantage over the enemy, by presenting them as a “force” rather than a gaggle of men.

hiphiphopflipflapflop's avatar

“Troops” is a way of referring to people in military service irrespective of their rank and service.

However there are a few units in the U.S. Army called troops. They are found in armored cavalry regiments and are roughly equivalent to mechanized infantry companies. (To further confuse things, a number of ACRs are now Stryker Brigade Combat Teams, but they keep the ‘squadron’ nomenclature but only in certain instances the ‘troops’).

In the commonwealth armies, troops in the unit sense are more widespread, and tend to be equivalent to infantry platoons. Additionally there is the rank of trooper equivalent to private by which members of such units are addressed.

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