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the skies, snows

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Allegro molto, Feb 24, 2013.

  1. Allegro molto Senior Member

    Japanese
    Hello

    On Friday, terror rained from the skies, blowing out windows and scaring people over an enormous swath of Siberia. But by Monday, for many people what fell from the sky had turned to pure gold, and it touched off a rush to retrieve the fragments, many buried in deep February snows.
    (from Russians Wade Into the Snow to Seek Treasure From the Sky, February 18, 2013, the New York Times)
    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/19/w...-say-they-found-meteorite-fragments.html?_r=0

    Why are 'sky' and 'snow' in the plural?

    Thank you
     
  2. perpend Senior Member

    American English
    The skies are what they are. Otherworldly. We don't mess with them.

    February often has many deep snows, since it's in the deep of winter.
     
  3. se16teddy

    se16teddy Senior Member

    London
    English - England
    Yes, sometimes the plural skies may simply suggest that the sky looks different in one place from another. But sometimes, as here, the plural in words for natural phenomena like skies, heavens, rains, snows, waters, perhaps also wastes adds a sense of cosmological grandeur. There is an example in Genesis 1:2: And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. This reminds me of the "majestic plural", used to address a (single) venerated person, discussed in Wikipedia here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pluralis_majestatis
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2013

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