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green / greens Options
Elmmosa
Posted: Tuesday, June 25, 2019 12:34:36 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 8/17/2015
Posts: 105
Neurons: 2,176
Hello,

in the fourth episode of elementary's final season, Sherlock is speaking with the ex-leader of a gang about a car accident. The car accident happened because someone manipulated the traffic lights.

Sherlock: 'Neither Bosco nor the truck driver ran a red light, because they both had greens.'

I'm wondering why 'greens' is used, not 'green'?
Is it because they are talking about two traffic lights and/with two green signal lights?
Could I also use 'green' in this sentence?

Thank you!
thar
Posted: Tuesday, June 25, 2019 12:53:01 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 7/8/2010
Posts: 20,873
Neurons: 84,479
Yes

This is not 'green' as an adjective or an uncountable concept - a green light.

It is acting as a noun here, 'green' meaning a green light. So the plural of one green is two greens.
In informal speech you don't need to say 'green light' because the meaning of what 'a green' is is clear in this context.

eg in a shop if you are looking for a notebook in green, the shop assistant might say 'I have one green left, and two yellows'. Meaning one green book and two yellow ones.


Anything can be made plural with an 's' if it is acting as a noun in the sentence.
eg, directions may say 'two lefts then a right'. ie turn left, turn left again, then turn right.
a row of buttons may show one red and three greens, or one "off" and three "on"s'.



You could say they both had green - they were both passing through lights that were green. But here they have thought of them as the actual 'green lights' so there were two greens.

It is more often that a red light is shortened to a red. To run a red is to go through a red light instead of stopping. So if you do that at several different lights, you run several reds.
Elmmosa
Posted: Tuesday, June 25, 2019 1:32:36 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 8/17/2015
Posts: 105
Neurons: 2,176
Thank you so much for your very clear explanation :)
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