Re: A usage question

Subject: Re: A usage question
From: Peter Cash <cash -at- CONVEX -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 4 May 1993 19:35:42 GMT

In article <199305031747 -dot- AA02995 -at- stevens -dot- unx -dot- sas -dot- com> Len Olszewski
<saslpo -at- unx -dot- sas -dot- com> writes:

>> > I have found also that educating people about the "behind-the-scenes"
>> > interactions of one software with another ...

>> I seem to be hearing this more and more, but I don't think I've seen it
>> written before this. I always use "software" as a collective noun or as
>> an adjective. (I would never say, "I lost my self-control and bought

>I think this is idiomatic; usage here determines correctness.
>Technically, this is correct. If you ask a developer "What do you write
>all day?", she can correctly reply "Software". That means it is a noun.

Yes, but it's a _collective_ noun. Software is like lint: you may say that
you pick lint from your belly button, but you never pick _a_ lint from it;
lint may clump together to form dust bunnies, but one lint never sticks to
another. (Yes, _pieces_ of lint may occasionally be located...but that's
not the same thing. In the same way, you can speak of "a piece of

| Die Welt ist alles, was Zerfall ist. |
Peter Cash | (apologies to Ludwig Wittgenstein) |cash -at- convex -dot- com

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