Feedback

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Feedback

Post by Stevenloan » Sun Aug 23, 2020 10:20 am

"Thank you for your amazing lectures and feedbacks and thank you for being so supportive!"

- Hi everybody! This is a note that a student from University of Missouri sent to an instructor. I checked a few dictionaries but "feedback" is an uncountable noun. But "feedback" is used as a countable noun" in the note above. Which one is correct?

Thanks a lot!

StevenLoan
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Re: Feedback

Post by BonnieL » Sun Aug 23, 2020 3:49 pm

Feedback as a plural is not normal. At least I've never seen it that way.
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Re: Feedback

Post by Phil White » Sun Aug 23, 2020 4:18 pm

Generally, the dictionaries give "feedback" as an uncountable noun, and most ordinary folks find "feedbacks" to be very strange.

Professionally, I have only come across "feedbacks" a couple of times, and always in the field of IT. However, if you look at the way some people are using it on blogs and social media and even in more formal documents in the IT world, it seems as though the use as a countable noun is becoming far more common. Indeed, there have been discussions about this very issue on various language forums for at least the past ten years.

I don't have to like it or use it myself (I don't and won't), but it is being used by others. I don't think we can yet call the countable usage "mainstream".
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Signature: Phil White
Non sum felix lepus

Re: Feedback

Post by trolley » Sun Aug 23, 2020 4:35 pm

I'd never heard it used that way. I did, however, find several examples of "feedbacks" on line, just now. Many of the examples had to do with the study of global weather. "Climate feedbacks" seems to be a thing (or things?)
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Re: Feedback

Post by Erik_Kowal » Sun Aug 23, 2020 10:10 pm

Another couple of similar cases that I've noticed: "learnings" and "softwares".

"Learnings" is usually used as a shorthand way of saying "lessons learned" or "conclusions drawn", usually in the context of a formal learning setting or session, or as part of a formal evaluation process.

"Softwares" is just a (relatively) recent way of saying "programs" (or "apps", etc.).

"Climate feedbacks" is really a shortened form of "climate feedback loops". It's arguably a useful bit of jargon, given that many different self-reinforcing mechanisms which are driving climate/environmental change have been discovered.

In the text sample that Steven presented, it is clear that the student is referring not to the aggregated feedback from the instructor, but to the individual contributions of feedback provided by that instructor over an extended period. It's analogous to "work" versus "pieces of work" when an instructor refers to (say) essays handed in by students.
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Re: Feedback

Post by Stevenloan » Tue Aug 25, 2020 7:54 am

BonnieL, Phil White, trolley and Erik: Thank you all so much for your answers. Have a good day.

StevenLoan
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