The correct (UK) English usage is "horse and carriage", "pony and trap", etc., when you have 1 horse, "carriage and pair" for 2 or "coach and horses" for more.

I am wondering why the coach or carriage goes before the horses when there are more than one but we would never usually say "carriage and horse".

Is this just one of the peculiarities of the English language or does someone here know of a grammatical rule?

  • I doubt that there is a grammatical rule for it, I believe that is a convention. I suspect that the convention arose from the fact that single horse vehicles were mainly drawn by horses which had other uses such as riding, ploughing, timber dragging and so on whereas multi-horse vehicles were drawn by horses which were used for nothing else. I initially thought that it related to the class of the owner but then I thought about 'Waggon and Horses' which uses the same form. – BoldBen Sep 19 '18 at 21:47
  • 1
    Say "horse and carriage" and "carriage and horse". Which seems to flow off your tongue more easily? – Hot Licks Sep 19 '18 at 21:54
  • 1
    Besides "love and marriage goes together like a carriage and horse" doesn't rhyme very well. – Hot Licks Sep 19 '18 at 21:55
  • 1
    @HotLicks OTOH, notice what rhymes with "divorce" :) – Barmar Sep 25 '18 at 1:23

Your Answer

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

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.