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  1. #1
    ostap77 is offline Key Member
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    Default the skie or skies

    "The skies being clear of clouds, an astronomer carried out an observation."

    Would be any difference, if I used ''sky" in this sentence? "the skies" is noncountable? Does it take a plural or singular verb?
    Last edited by ostap77; 26-Mar-2011 at 18:03.

  2. #2
    ostap77 is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: the skie or skies

    Quote Originally Posted by ostap77 View Post
    "The skies being clear of clouds, an astronomer carried out observation."

    Would be any difference, if I used ''sky" in this sentence? "the skies" is noncountable? Does it take a plural or singular verb?
    Are these two interchangeable?

  3. #3
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    Default Re: the skie or skies

    "The skies being clear of clouds, an astronomer carried out an observation."

    and

    "The sky being clear of clouds, an astronomer carried out an observation."

    are equivalent in both meaning and style, although normally the prosaic term is "sky". "Skies" is usually reserved for more poetic or literary purposes.

    "Skies" takes a plural verb, e.g. "The skies are clear."

  4. #4
    ostap77 is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: the skie or skies

    Quote Originally Posted by probus View Post
    "The skies being clear of clouds, an astronomer carried out an observation."

    and

    "The sky being clear of clouds, an astronomer carried out an observation."

    are equivalent in both meaning and style, although normally the prosaic term is "sky". "Skies" is usually reserved for more poetic or literary purposes.

    "Skies" takes a plural verb, e.g. "The skies are clear."
    When do we use observation being noncoutable? Here is what I've snaged off the Internet.

    "2 a [noncount] : the act of careful watching and listening : the activity of paying close attention to someone or something in order to get information ▪ These facts are based on close observation of the birds in the wild. ▪
    ▪ The plants seem to have recovered from the disease, but they are still under observation. [=someone is watching them carefully] ▪ He has been under government observation [=the government has been watching him carefully] for six months. ▪ They're keeping him at the hospital for observation [=so that doctors can watch him carefully] for another few days"

    Can we say "carry out observation" trying to convey generic meaning not a specific act of observation?

  5. #5
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    Default Re: the skie or skies

    "When do we use observation as being non-countable?"

    When the activity is progressive or continuing. Keeping a patient or a plant under observation is progressive and that kind of observation is non-countable.

    Observations such as those made by pundits and astronomers are discrete acts and take the indefinite article in the singular.

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