trooper; trouper. “Trooper” = (1) a cavalry soldier or horse; (2) a police officer mounted on horseback; or (3) a state police officer. “Trouper” = (1) a member of an acting troupe; (2) one who handles adversity well; or (3) a loyal, dependable person. The proper expression, then, is “real trouper” (sense 2), not *”real trooper.” Yet while the correct form is more common, the incorrect form seems to be gaining ground — e.g.: o “Quite the trooper [read ‘trouper’], Rees; he never once complained about the heat or the jellyfish or anything.” Doug Pike, “By Jove, English Chap Is a Real Trooper [read ‘Trouper’],” Houston Chron., 17 Oct. 1993, Sports §, at 27. o “A real trooper [read ‘trouper’], Hanson was back at work the next day — sporting crutches, of course.” “On the Mend,” Ft. Worth Star-Telegram, 3 Mar. 1996, at 1. o “Recently, our beloved 16-year-old cat, Casey, was stricken with cancer. Nevertheless, she was a real trooper [read ‘trouper’] until the end.” Percy Ross, “Mom Needs Refrigerator,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 20 Aug. 1997, at E6. Language-Change Index — *”real trooper” for “real trouper”: Stage 2. *Invariably inferior form. For information about the Language-Change Index click here. ——————– Quotation of the Day: “Good writing is not the perfectly tailored garment of a Personage, perfectly pressed since last he wrote it; it is the rumpled suit of a living person, still relaxing from the strain of his labors, its pockets stuffed with trash and with things worth getting at. And each thing gets its value from the finder.” Martin Joos, The Five Clocks 49 (1961; repr. 1967).