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gertrude

July 2019

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Query

Call me a boring old pedant, but. I've been constantly irritated in a book I'm reading by references to 'cannons'. Now I've just seen the same usage on the BBC news website in connection with the Waterloo commemorations. Isn't the plural of cannon, cannon? As in
Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
etc.?

If I'm wrong, I take it back.
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I suspect both are correct in slightly different uses. I think 'cannon' is a mass noun, referring to the serried ranks of cannons lined up in battle or the logistical problems of transporting the cannon. But if you have two or three cannons, they are cannons.
That makes sense. Thanks!