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Patients / Patience

Posted: Tue Jul 22, 2008 11:52 am
by DavidN
I usually know how to spell these words, but for reason (memory?) these words have always given me fits. As I tried in vain to write a quick email to a coworker I had to stop and go look up the word (even though I used the Spelling Tool in Outlook-which frustrated me).

Can someone explain the reason for the unusual pronunciation of these two words?

I think I'll have a good day someday.

Posted: Thu Sep 16, 2010 7:14 pm
by Slava
3.5 years later, I'll have a crack at this one.

I don't believe there is really any confusion here. Both words are from the same root, but with slightly different development.

If you are patient, you have patience. The former an adjective, the latter a noun.

If you are a patient, you are a noun putting up with something. The standard way to form the plural is to add an "s". Unless we're going to pronounce the "t," we need to go with the same sound as in patience.

One mnemonic device might be to remember that little bit of information; the one with the "s" is a plural, the one without it is a singular.

The plural is for those who are demonstrating the quality of the singular.