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The words troop and troupe are homophones: they sound alike but have different meanings.
As a noun, troop refers to a group of soldiers or a collection of people or things. As a verb, troop means to move or spend time together.
The noun troupe refers specifically to a group of theatrical performers.
The difference between trooper and trouper is discussed in the usage notes below.
- My sister, who has been in the Girl Scouts for two years, wanted to earn enough money to send her entire troop to summer camp.
- A live jazz band will open for an international troupe of dancers, and clowns on stilts will sell hot dogs to customers in balcony seats.
- "An encamped Boy Scout troop wanted to watch and hear a troupe perform at a nearby military base. When informed that the show was for the troops only, the boys had to entertain themselves by working on their merit badges."
(Robert Oliver Shipman, A Pun My Word: A Humorously Enlightened Path to English Usage. Rowman & Littlefield, 1991)
- troop or troupe, trooper or trouper
"The older English spelling troop (used in the singular) refers to certain kinds of military unit, in artillery, armored formation, and cavalry. In the scouting movement, a troop is a group of three or more patrols. The plural troops is military usage for the whole body of soldiers, rather than units within it. The French spelling troupe was reborrowed in C19 to refer to a group of actors or entertainers, and is readily modified as in dance troupe, Moscow circus troupe, troupe of traveling players.
"The distinctions between troupe and troop carry over to trouper and trooper. Trouper refers to a member of an entertainment group, and trooper (in the UK) to a soldier associated with an armored unit or cavalry, and, in the US, a member of a state police force."
(Pam Peters, The Cambridge Guide to English Usage. Cambridge University Press, 2004)
- trooper, trouper
"An old trooper is an old cavalry soldier (supposedly good at swearing), old private soldier in a tank regiment, or old mounted policeman. An old trouper is an old member of a theatrical company, or perhaps a good sort."
(The Economist Style Guide. Profile Books, 2005)
(a) The magician and his _____ of jugglers packed the Chinese theater with thousands of people.
(b) A gorilla will beat his chest, break branches, flash his teeth, and charge--all in the interest of protecting his _____.
Answers to Practice Exercises
(a) The magician and his troupe of jugglers packed the Chinese theater with thousands of people.
(b) A gorilla will beat his chest, break branches, flash his teeth, and charge--all in the interest of protecting his troop.