2

Why it is ""You have my word" rather than "You have my words"?"

1
  • Could you explain why you feel "words" could have that meaning? Maybe by showing what you found in a dictionary?
    – Dan Getz
    Commented Jun 15, 2015 at 14:53

2 Answers 2

3

In his renowned A Dictionary of Modern English Usage, H. W. Fowler defined an idiomatic expression as one that is “natural for a normal Englishman to say or write.” He went on to say that idiomatic English is not necessarily grammatical or ungrammatical. (Mark my words, that man is to be trusted.)

You have my word is idiomatic to say.

of (one's) word:

Displaying personal dependability: a woman of her word.

An assurance or promise; sworn intention: She has kept her word.

(MW)

'You have my word' derives from the chivalric code. One would literally have to stake their word, synonymous with their honor, upon completing whatever was agreed upon.

'You have my word/I give you my word/take my word for it'.

1

To make this simple, consider the following.

"You have my word" connotes a promise or vow.

"You have my words" would mean that they have said something other than a promise.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .