"Ryssdal: Yeah, but you’re 45. You’ve got a ways to go yet."

In the sentence above , "ways" is plural in form but  treated as a singular noun.  Is this kind of usage popular in the U.S. ?  If so, are there similar cases, that  plural form nouns treated as singular in grammatical construction?

source: https://www.nashvillepublicrad...alcon-doors#stream/0

Thank you very much.

Last edited by ken
Original Post

Great question, Ken, and one that has always bothered me.

When "ways" is used in this way, it can be substituted with the singular "way".

This is not so with the similar "means", which is written as plural even when expressing a singular concept, eg:

b: Do you have a means to get home?

I call it one the great mysteries and peculiarities of our language.  I wish I had a better answer.


DocV, I totally share your feelings.  I know what "Ways and Means Committee" and so on, but why "a ways"?   A mystery. Thank you very much!


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