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Evidences? (Is evidence countable?)



 
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Evidences? (Is evidence countable?) #1 (permalink) Fri Nov 28, 2008 9:07 am   Evidences? (Is evidence countable?)
 

Hi, I used to think that the noun evidence is uncountable until I came across the following sentence by Napoleon Hill:

History is filled with evidences that Leadership by Force cannot endure.

So evidently the noun 'evidence' is countable after all. Or is it not?

Thanks,
Torsten

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Torsten Daerr

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Evidences? (Is evidence countable?) #2 (permalink) Fri Nov 28, 2008 9:23 am   Evidences? (Is evidence countable?)
 

Hi Torston,

I think you will find that actually if we go back on that magical time machine you will find many differences in the use of the English language.

Evidence is singular, however so is water and money. However ... we still have "monies" and "waters"

For instance:

All monies arising from the many different charity activties across the world will now be subject to US tax (smile) whoops! Bush has gone! (ducking and running)

He sailed the many waters of the world looking for his loved one.

Fact is that we also have to appreciate that even the singulars can take different forms and sometimes do not collectively combine into the idea of "one" In this case certain singulars (those normally without plural) then themselves become a plural as a collection of "ones" that are not combinable.

Bye bye

Rob
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Evidences? (Is evidence countable?) #3 (permalink) Fri Nov 28, 2008 9:59 am   Evidences? (Is evidence countable?)
 

Hi Rob,

What do you mean by 'singular'? Of course any countable noun can be singular as well as plural. Are you meaning to say that 'evidence' is uncountable? If so, why would Napoleon Hill use the plural version?

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Torsten Daerr

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Evidences? (Is evidence countable?) #4 (permalink) Fri Nov 28, 2008 10:07 am   Evidences? (Is evidence countable?)
 

Hi Torston, Let me first modify my original message for clarity ...

Quote:
I think you will find that actually if we go back on that magical time machine you will find many differences in the use of the English language.
Evidence is uncountable, however so is water and money. However ... we still have "monies" and "waters"
For instance:
All monies arising from the many different charity activties across the world will now be subject to US tax (smile) whoops! Bush has gone! (ducking and running)
He sailed the many waters of the world looking for his loved one.
Fact is that we also have to appreciate that even the uncountables can take different forms and sometimes do not collectively combine into the idea of "one" In this case certain uncountables (those normally without plural) then themselves become a plural as a collection of "ones" that are not combinable.


OR

Sheep for instance is uncountable: we can have different types of sheep, but they will always be sheep! Therefore there is no such thing as Sheeps!

Whereas

Water for instance is also uncountable and one may think that water is always water, but it is not ALWAYS, for instance water can mean a sea, an ocean, a river, a lake ...etc and these things, although all water and although water is uncountable, in the context cannot be combined, therefore we must use "waters"

Rob
www.onlineenglish.eu
HamburgEnglish
I'm here quite often ;-)


Joined: 01 May 2007
Posts: 471

Evidences? (Is evidence countable?) #5 (permalink) Fri Nov 28, 2008 13:02 pm   Evidences? (Is evidence countable?)
 

Torsten wrote:
What do you mean by 'singular'? Of course any countable noun can be singular as well as plural. Are you meaning to say that 'evidence' is uncountable? If so, why would Napoleon Hill use the plural version?

Torsten, I have no idea why Napoleon Hill would have made it plural. It's definitely an eccentric usage, and if I were you, I wouldn't run around using it.

"Monies" doesn't simply mean "money", but money that has been placed into various categories and different accounts, just as "fishes" means different kinds of fish. "Waters" is just a strange, archaic usage.

If you search for "evidences" in the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the site will take you to "evidence", and the entry shows no plural for the word.
Jamie (K)
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Evidences? (Is evidence countable?) #6 (permalink) Fri Nov 28, 2008 13:13 pm   Evidences? (Is evidence countable?)
 

Hi Jamie,

Thanks a lot for your explanation. What do you make of the 3,6 million web pages that contain the word 'evidences'? Probably wrong usage by foreigners or eccentric usage?

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Torsten
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Torsten Daerr

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Evidences? (Is evidence countable?) #7 (permalink) Fri Nov 28, 2008 13:20 pm   Evidences? (Is evidence countable?)
 

Yes.
Jamie (K)
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Joined: 24 Feb 2006
Posts: 6761
Location: Detroit, Michigan, USA

Evidences? (Is evidence countable?) #8 (permalink) Sun Mar 08, 2009 6:15 am   Evidences? (Is evidence countable?)
 

Hi Torsten

Jamie's recommendation that you not use "evidences" is really no different from your own recommendation to learners that they not use "advices". In fact, I believe you have gone so far as to state that "advices" does not even exist. However, "advices" gets nearly 4 million Google results. So, what should learners be told? Is it good advice or bad advice to tell a learner not to use "advices"?

By the way, you might find it interesting that there are 315 million Google results for the word dont (i.e. the contraction of do not, but with no apostrophe). Frightening, isn't it? :lol:

As for the word 'sheep', it is indeed countable -- in everyday spoken English as well as in literature. The oddity here is that the singular and plural forms of the word 'sheep' are the same. For example, there is no error in the following sentence, in which a count of 6 sheep is mentioned:

Gabriel Oak, a young farmer, is herding six sheep home from auction when he comes upon a wagon stacked with household goods.
(Source: Far from the Madding Crowd)

And don't forget that some people are said to 'count sheep' as a way of trying to get to sleep. :)

Take care,
Amy

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