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  1. #1
    pinkie9 is offline Member
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    Default There is no difference/ There are no differences

    I understand that "difference" can be used both as a countable and an uncountable noun.

    1. There is no difference in the incidence of diabetes between men and women aged 18 years or older in Pennsylvania.

    2. There are no differences in the incidence of diabetes between men and women aged 18 years or older in Pennsylvania.

    Are they both correct? If not, could anyone explain the difference please, such as when to use each?

  2. #2
    pinkie9 is offline Member
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    Default Re: There is no difference/ There are no differences

    I'm still waiting for replies. :)

  3. #3
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: There is no difference/ There are no differences

    Quote Originally Posted by pinkie9 View Post
    I'm still waiting for replies. :)
    The people who answer questions here do so voluntarily in their own free time. Please curb your impatience. If someone can help you, they will do so as soon as they have time.

  4. #4
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: There is no difference/ There are no differences

    They are both correct. The plural could be used to imply that there are various factors about the incidence and they're all the same.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: There is no difference/ There are no differences

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    They are both correct. The plural could be used to imply that there are various factors about the incidence and they're all the same.
    Mind you, I think the singular sounds more natural to many people.

  6. #6
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: There is no difference/ There are no differences

    I agree- that's why I only commented on what the second might suggest. The first is the more natural.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: There is no difference/ There are no differences

    I agree that the first is more natural. However, I read some ambiguity in the content. Are you talking about the incidence of diabetes in adult men versus adult women? Or the incidence of diabetes in men and women of 18 versus men and women older than 18? Or even between adult men and women in Pennsylvania versus adult men and women in other places?
    Last edited by emsr2d2; 17-Oct-2011 at 08:29. Reason: Typo

  8. #8
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    Default Re: There is no difference/ There are no differences

    Dear emsr2d2,

    If you're not an epidemiologist , you might consider becoming one You have the mind for it.

    There are ambiguities in the content of the second sentence that could reveal differences in the outcomes sought. Your questions bring this to light.

    Question N1 is about as clear as it gets.
    1. There is no difference ....
    No (zero) difference implies that you have tested for an outcome between X and Y and found none.

    Question N 2 leaves room for different analyses (of exactly the type you mention).
    2. There are no differences ... (between what and what)?
    No (zero) differences implies that you have tested for outcomes between W, X, Y, Z and found none.

    These sorts of questions are most appreciated by statisticians and econometricians - but the difference in outcomes can be surprising.

    Stating the result (of any analysis) in the singular adds weight to the methodology used and the conclusions drawn.

    John

  9. #9
    pinkie9 is offline Member
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    Default Re: There is no difference/ There are no differences

    Thank you, everyone.
    I understood that they are both correct but the singular is more natural.

    Does this apply to all nouns that are used both as a countable and an uncountable noun?

    For example,
    3. There is no safety concern about this product.
    4. There are no safety concerns about this product.
    Are they both correct with 3 being more natural, and 4 might imply various factors?

    About the comments by emsr2d2;812339 and JohnParis,
    I didn't mean any analyses.
    I just wrote 1 and 2 for this question. (I meant "the incidence of diabetes in adult men versus adult women".)
    Last edited by pinkie9; 18-Oct-2011 at 13:31.

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