"Feedback" a count noun?

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Wed Dec 15 21:20:59 UTC 2004

At 1:12 PM -0500 12/15/04, Beverly Flanigan wrote:
>Compare surgeries, homeworks, informations, researches. . . .  The first is
>now common (not so in my youth); the other three are common among L2
>speakers of English; and the second one is now spreading to native speakers
>as well (my TAs use it).

hmmm...interesting.  I can imagine saying to a class "Put your
homeworks in the basket on my door" but I can't imagine saying to the
class "There will be 9 homeworks over the course of the semester"
(only "9 homework assignments", "9 problem sets", etc.).  So
basically it works as a token plural but not a type plural for me,
which I think is the opposite of Dennis's intuition.  "Surgeries" is
impeccable for me (I'm 59 and can't remember when it wasn't
impeccable, although I can remember being unable to imagine having
multiple ones myself) and I agree that the other two are not uncommon
among non-native speakers (presuambly as a calque from their own
language in which the parallel term pluralizes--e.g. _recherches_,
_renseignements_), but so far pretty rare in actual English, if I can
use that term in a non-derogatory way.


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