The noun double standard is countable. Looking at some ngram you can see the plural form used for titles (to mean something like the topic of...) or when there's a number preceding it (i.e. referring to a list: the 49 double standards...). But the results don't really show the plural in a sentence with a conjugated verb and a personal pronoun... For instance telling someone "you have so many double standards" doesn't feel completely right, or is it just me? I think I would use "different" here instead of double, and further explain what I mean by that (different standards for such and such thing/person, in this or that context etc. though I might end up using the singular form down the line: double standard this, double standard that).

Do you think a sentence like "you have so many double standards" is idiomatic (it has 2k hits on the search engines, don't know if that's a lot for something like this); is there a more natural way to phrase this (and if so how would you rephrase it)? If not, is this because there's something specific about this noun (is it just because it's not that much being used?) or is this more generally about the usage difference of the singular vs. plural form of the nouns/the way the verb to have is used (improperly/ambiguously?) with an object?


1 Answer 1


Yes, it's idiomatic. Double standard is a count noun, as you say, and may be modified by any number of count and count-like words:

Two double standards:

In effect, there were two double standards at the same time - one between the sexes and the other between the races.

Many double standards:

To support this claim, I must challenge the generality of the term 'the double standard' and one specific misapplication of it to this period. The term is too general because there were many double standards.

So many double standards:

I dismiss the statements that all men are equal because so many double standards exist in this world, and as a youth, you notice how standards are set up to cause failure!

Also, have as a verb can take double standards as an object without difficulty:

Have double standards

Young adults have double standards about sexual infidelity.

Elsa thinks about how Granny used to say, “You have standards and I have double standards, and so I win.”


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