mass nouns

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mass nouns

Post by navi » Sat Oct 12, 2019 9:15 pm

Which are correct:

1) Tom's and Pete's intelligence was put to good use in that project.


2) Tom's and Pete's intelligences were put to good use in that project.


3) Tom's and Pete's talent was put to good use in that movie.


4) Tom's and Pete's talents were put to good use in that movie.


Gratefully,
Navi
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Re: mass nouns

Post by Phil White » Sun Oct 13, 2019 2:06 pm

Sentence 2 is not grammatically well-formed, because "intelligence" is not a countable noun.

Sentence 3 is semantically odd. If we wish to speak of the sum talent of Tom and Pete as a team, we would be more likely to say: "Tom and Pete's talent was put to good use in that movie."

But there is room for flexibility in constructing sentences like these. Chill!
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Signature: Phil White
Non sum felix lepus

Re: mass nouns

Post by Erik_Kowal » Sun Oct 13, 2019 2:53 pm

The awkwardness created by introducing multiple possessives into sentences like these can be avoided by turning their construction around:

The intelligence of Tom and Pete was put to good use in that project.

The talent of Tom and Pete was put to good use in that project,

(or better)

The talents of Tom and Pete were put to good use in that project.
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