RE: plural form of 'equipment' ?

Subject: RE: plural form of 'equipment' ?
From: "Andrew Warren" <awarren -at- synaptics -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 17 Jul 2006 17:44:55 -0700

Sandy Nicholson wrote:

> I've often seen 'softwares' and 'a software' on the web. It's
> possible that the usage is mainly by non-native speakers ....
> Still, I wouldn't be surprised if 'software' followed in the
> footsteps of 'email' in making the mass-to-count transition.


It's already sorta happened, at least in some circles.

"Code" is a synonym, more or less, for "software", and most of us treat
it as a mass noun (e.g., "I've written lots of code: over a dozen
programs"), but a web search for

"computer codes" simulation

will produce hundreds of examples, from all the major US government labs
and many US universities, of "code" used as a count noun.

In my experience, the count-noun usage seems universal among scientists
involved with large computer simulations, whether they're doing weapons
research or weather forecasting. The consistency in usage among such
seemingly-diverse labs may be explained by the fact that they're all
funded by the government; maybe "a code" is just an odd relic of very
early government computer work, and it's survived so long because
government contracts, grants, etc., have just always used the word that

... or maybe it's just because scientists are odd. They are, after all,
the only people who also insist on using "data" as other than a mass


=== Andrew Warren - awarren -at- synaptics -dot- com
=== Synaptics, Inc - Santa Clara, CA

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