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on technology 
13th-Apr-2006 01:40 pm
"Technology" is a mass noun

If you are able to make fire or build a hydrogen bomb then you unarguably have technology. One may also respectably argue that those who can accomplish the latter have more technology than those who can only do the former.

Now it may be that you have techniques, skills, devices, patents, libraries, tools, tricks (or bags thereof). You may also be wanting to sell products that make use of one or more of these. You may even have dozens of techniques, skills, etc... available for you to use, just as you can have a dozen eggs in your refrigerator.

But you cannot have a dozen "technologies", any more than you can have a dozen "waters" or a dozen "moneys",... or at least, not unless you want to call attention to your own situation of being a marketing weenie desperately trying to make something sound cool.

Here endeth the lesson.
13th-Apr-2006 10:02 pm (UTC)
What's your source for the claim that "technology" is only a mass noun?

(For that matter, both "water" and "money" are count nouns, in some contexts.)
13th-Apr-2006 11:28 pm (UTC)
What's your source for the claim that "technology" is only a mass noun?
Personal observation that the only uses otherwise have been by computer industry marketing weenies within the last 10-15 years. That the 2006 Websters might claim "technology" as a count noun wouldn't be entirely surprsing to me, and it may rather late in the game to try to kill this usage dead, but it remains grating and unnecessary nevertheless.
both "water" and "money" are count nouns, in some contexts
Yes, if we're playing Settlers of Catan, all sorts of odd things become count nouns ("I'll trade you five waters for a sheep, 2 stone, and a flying monkey").

And there are various poetic constructions ("the waters of the Euphrates", "the technologies of the Incas") that I don't actually object to -- but even so these are still not really full-fledged count-noun uses (how many waters does the Euphrates have?).
13th-Apr-2006 11:41 pm (UTC)
I'm still mad about "email".
13th-Apr-2006 11:58 pm (UTC)
Me too! It's fantastic, isn't it?
14th-Apr-2006 12:14 am (UTC)
I'm mad about "u".
14th-Apr-2006 12:25 am (UTC)
English sucks.
14th-Apr-2006 12:28 am (UTC)
I think you mean "English suck."
13th-Apr-2006 11:55 pm (UTC)
The 1996 dictionary in my office lists "technologies" as a valid plural.

You should contact these guys about this.
13th-Apr-2006 11:57 pm (UTC)
I was thinking of uses more bureaucratic than poetic, at least for "moneys". I like the Catan example better, though.
14th-Apr-2006 12:26 am (UTC)
But ironically in Settlers it's "2 stone" instead of "2 stones".
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