Spot the error-10

August 03, 2012|By John E. McIntyre | The Baltimore Sun

According to a police report, a woman was waiting in line to make a purchase at the Exxon in the 800 block of York Road in Towson at 4:25 p.m. Tuesday when a man plucked her iPhone from her hand and fled with a cohort down York Road.

You may want to ask: How many were in the cohort? 

Cohort is traditionally a mass noun for a military unit or other grouping of people. I am in that cohort known as the baby boom generation that has not had the common decency to die and make room in the sun. But in the United States over the past half-century and more, cohorts has been understood as meaning "companions" or, in criminal matters, "accomplices." As widespread as that usage is, and as futile as any attempt to resist it must be, cohort for a single person still jars. 

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