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Which one is right?

1. Pizzas, unicorns, and cosmos are my thing.

2. Pizzas, unicorns, and cosmos are my things.

An example from Charlie Gladstone's blog

February 2018.

Cabins. These are my thing at the moment. We have been rebuilding (completely) an ancient cabin in Scotland ...

shows the use of 'are my thing', which is fairly standard, but what about when there are closely related

(Cabins old and new [... these] are my thing/s

Rivers and canals are my thing/s)

or disparate

(Fast cars and fast women are my thing/s)

compound subjects? Which of these are idiomatic usages?

closed as off-topic by Scott, Lawrence, AmE speaker, J. Taylor, Ellie Kesselman Jun 4 '18 at 11:00

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  • Possible duplicate of Origin of My thing – Mari-Lou A Jun 1 '18 at 8:22
  • I know the two questions are not identical but it contains the answer to your question, which is "my thing"; singular. – Mari-Lou A Jun 1 '18 at 8:23
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I'm going to assume that the meaning of "my thing" is as given in What is the origin of “My thing”.

While I personally feel as if it's more common for each person to only have a single "thing," I imagine some people could have more than one "thing," and refer to them in the plural.

The question as asked is ambiguous because it's not clarifying an underlining assumption. Does the person consider themself to have only one thing—or do they consider themself to have multiple things?

I also find some other aspects of the sentence odd.

First, it's more common to say "(I) like pizza" than it is to say "(I) like pizzas." As far as this food-related word goes, unless somebody is pointing out a specific countable number, it's more often used as a mass noun.

Second, it's more common to have the definite article in front of cosmos than not.

Given all of this (and rephrasing a bit), we now have two possibilities:

(one thing) Pizza, unicorns, and the cosmos are my thing.
(three things) Pizza, unicorns, and the cosmos are my things.

Depending on how many "things" we have, both sentences are correct.


Is it possible for "pizza, unicorns, and the cosmos" to be a single thing?

Let's say that I'm famous for routinely going out to pubs, getting drunk, and passing out. (For the record, I am not . . .) In my mind, and everybody else's mind, these three things are closely related.

Doing that is my thing. What is that? Going out to pubs, getting drunk, and passing out. Therefore, my thing is a particular sequence of events.

From the sentence in the question itself, it seems unlikely that there is any kind of association between pizza, unicorns, and the cosmos. But that's only because no context has been given.

Let's say that, once a week, I order myself some pizza, and then sit down and draw pictures of unicorns while pondering the mysteries of the cosmos. (Again for the record, I do not . . .) As with the other example, doing that is my (single) thing.

  • In slang, all is possible. :) Upvote the obvious. Except you can't own the cosmos but you can own pizzas and unicorns. Ha ha. – Lambie Jun 1 '18 at 21:13
  • I thought that the "cosmos" in the question was either short for the glamour magazine "Cosmopolitan" or an American soccer team?? Never did I think it was the cosmos (universe). With the definite article, I would have understood better! – Mari-Lou A Jun 2 '18 at 7:39
  • @Mari-LouA Wow, I never even thought of it that way—because it didn't have a capital letter. But now that you mention it, I appreciate that interpretation too. – Jason Bassford Jun 2 '18 at 15:43
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Your example about cabins describes a singular thing, yet its used in an abnormal way, one which places more personal attachment and interest in the subject, likely one that transcends far beyond mere ownership of the thing in reference.

Your question however uses multiple things, which brings about the question whether to use the pluralized version in this context. However, there's the connundrum of whether this will take away from the intended meaning. Removing the S makes things more immaterial and ethereal, implying that this one thing constitute a significant part of your life. In (personal) fact, pluralizing thing detracts entirely the inner significance behind the semantics.

It's implied (in a sense I suppose) that what you're referencing is already known, likely a list of nouns that are possessed by you in some form, given you provide little detail or context to the complete writing.

Given we do not want to detract from the unique context this coinage can bring to the overall literal comprehension, I would advise never using the pluralized form, no matter how many are referenced.

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