1

I wanted to indicate that 2 people really livened up the party so I said, "They were the lifes of the party." It seemed natural. Someone immediately suggested it should be, "lives of the party." This struck me as taking the word "life" too literally. Is there a (more) correct plural?

  • The idiom (in the UK) is the life and soul of the party. Pluralising it? I wouldn't! – user184130 Jul 30 '18 at 14:12
  • 1
    @JamesRandom - actually “In American English, you usually say that they are the life of the party.”, but I agree, I’d not pluralize it if it refers to more people. Party is singular, so “life” would suffice. – user067531 Jul 30 '18 at 14:16
  • @user070221 Thanks for that. When I first searched for it, I found only a movie of that name. Looking for definitions, specifically, did find some. – user184130 Jul 30 '18 at 14:18
  • @user070221 - That sounds natural and implies that the party has only one "life" -- its duration -- to which they both contributed. – Karl Kelly Jul 30 '18 at 14:20
  • 1
    I upvoted the answer, as it's right on the money. But the problem still remains: What are you to say your pedantic party-goers? Although this site isn't for life advice, I would slur to them most disdainfully: "Diss ish a party, not a shpelling bee." – Zebrafish Jul 30 '18 at 14:33
3

I think I'd leave it singular. Two people can be considered as one when they are united in some way.

"They were the life and soul of the party."

Don't get hung up on how many nouns there are.

"Many dogs live the good life in their owners' homes."

0

The "more correct" plural of 'life' is 'lives'. Given that a cat has nine lives, not nine lifes, one could say that two people are the lives of the party. On the other hand, as several have pointed out, you can stick with the singular life of the party. See the related When to use “lives” as a plural of life? and Why is the plural form of “life” “lives”, while the plural form of “still life” is “still lifes”?. Since you are dealing with an idiom, use lives as in a cat's nine lives. But ultimately it is opinion based.

-1

Life of the party appears to be the common AmE version of the BrE “life and soul of a party

A lively, amusing person who is the center of attention at a social gathering. For example, Eileen was the life of the party, telling one good story after another. [First half of 1800s]

Note: People sometimes replace party with other nouns. He gives the impression of having been the life and soul of the campus.

The term “life” refers to the party, not to the people who take part in it so the singular form is the appropriate term to use.

(Collins)

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.