Hi quiet dandelion, I expect that this is a joke, but, just in case it isn't, I ought to say that one never eats humble pies - it's always humble pie. I used to tell my pupils that if they had to eat humble pie they ought to ask for a large portion.Thanks, my friends.
Now I'll remember "I'll make him eat humble pies."
Well now, there's a question! One can't always count on such logic in idioms, of course. I think pies being quite considerable dishes usually are eaten only one at a sitting, but let's see what other people say.Thanks, Tompion.
I think I'm eating humble pie now; in fact, I've been eating my humble pie since I began teaching English. I couldn't help it--it's a fact I couldn't do anything about.
But why not plural pies since pies are countable nouns?
It all depends on what message you wish to get across.quietdandelion said:Is it really a big deal to use the wrong form? It does carry one's meaning across anyway, sigular or plural?
Is this AE or BE? If you asked a UK shopkeeper, "Do you have any apple pie?" he might retort, "We've got hundreds!". If you asked, "Do you have any pork pie?" it might sound even odder, in my opinion. In a restaurant I would ask, "Do you have XXX pie?" if "XXX Pie" was on the menu. I don't agree with saying that it's normal to talk about XXX pie as a non-count noun.Idiom, metaphor, or whatever, it is normal to talk about XXX pie as a non-count noun.
We are having apple pie tonight.
Even if there are 400 of us and there are 100 apple pies, we are having apple pie tonight. In fact, even if these are individual apple pies, and there are 400 of them, we are still having apple pie tonight.
Apple pie, gooseberry pie, cherry pie, pumpkin pie ... ... and humble pie.
I couldn't agree more. It's a foolish side dish, is this humble pie. It was originally a pie - Umble pie (it contained offal) but you're right Panj, we shouldn't be discussing the countability of non-edible idioms or metaphors.Remember how the conversation developed.
We're on the question of humble pie - or pies.
Quietdandelion asks - why not plural pies, pie is a count noun.
Suggestions that this is an idiom, a metaphor - hence pie singular.
I suspect this is because no one has ever made a humble pie - its only existence is in this phrase or in direct allusion to it. You'll find a good few examples like that if you search for "humble pies".I don't know why, but I have never heard "humble pie" in plural form. Who knows why, as pie is a noun that can be put in plural form....
I mentioned earlier how "humble pie" derives from the old English recipe of "Umble pie" - made from offal. In this day and age you would NOT WANT TO EAT A WHOLE ONE. Thus, only a portion of the imaginary pie would need to be consumed before you retch an apology in the face of your proud victor.I don't know why, but I have never heard "humble pie" in plural form. Who knows why, as pie is a noun that can be put in plural form....