Results 1 to 8 of 8
  1. #1

    "correspondence"

    Hello, could anybody tell me about the word "correspondence" please?

    My understanding is that when you mean "communication by letters" you say "correspondence" or "a correspondence" but not "correspondences". For example, "This file is about correspondence (or a correspondence) "between Company A and Company B".
    And when you mean "the letters exchanged" you use only "correspondence" and neither "a corresondence" nor "correspondences".
    Is that right?

    Is there an online dictionary which has the description of "counterble" and "uncountable" for this noun, where I can find the answers to the above question?

    Thank you in advance!


    • Join Date: Mar 2006
    • Posts: 671
    #2

    Re: "correspondence"

    Quote Originally Posted by pink dragon View Post
    Hello, could anybody tell me about the word "correspondence" please?
    My understanding is that when you mean "communication by letters" you say "correspondence" or "a correspondence" but not "correspondences". For example, "This file is about correspondence (or a correspondence) "between Company A and Company B".
    And when you mean "the letters exchanged" you use only "correspondence" and neither "a corresondence" nor "correspondences".
    Is that right?
    Is there an online dictionary which has the description of "counterble" and "uncountable" for this noun, where I can find the answers to the above question?
    Thank you in advance!
    http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/correspondence

    It is both countable and uncountable, in different contexts. So, for example:

    1) "I had a correspondence with Jane last year."
    = 'a DISTINCT exchange of letters' - countable

    2) "I had several correspondences with Jane last year."
    = 'more than one distinct (and separate) exchanges of letters' - countable

    3) "I had correspondence with Jane last year."
    = 'I simply exchanged one or more letters with Jane last year' - uncountable

    Does that help you?

  2. #3

    Re: "correspondence"

    Thank you for your kind explanation, Coffa!
    I have some questions.

    Q1: Wikitionary, you mentioned, says "5. (uncountable) Postal or other written communications."
    Doesn't it contradict your examples?

    Q2* I've been continuing looking for the word in various dictionaries, and found that OALD says it's uncountable when you mean the letters and it can be countable and uncountable when you mean the activity.
    Is it common different dictionaries give different definitions? It's really confusing to a non-native speaker.
    Last edited by pink dragon; 02-Oct-2006 at 02:02.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Laos

    • Join Date: Nov 2002
    • Posts: 57,864
    #4

    Re: "correspondence"

    I don't think it does contradict Coffa's examples. In the first two, the exchange of letters has a defined limit, which makes it similar- it's the activity. Each correspondence was an exchange on a particular topic.

  3. #5

    Re: "correspondence"

    Thank you, tdol

    But I still don't get it..

    If Coffa's examples 1) and 2) mean the activity, not the letters exchanged, don't they fall under the category "5. (uncountable) Postal or other written communications." in Wikitionary?

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Laos

    • Join Date: Nov 2002
    • Posts: 57,864
    #6

    Re: "correspondence"

    Follow the OALD - the Wiktionary says it's countable at times, then gives no instance of it. Remember that all wikis have shortcomings and can, at times, lack authority as they are user-edited. If you look, they have imported that from the 1913 Webster's, so it's not guranteed to reflect current usage.

  4. #7

    Re: "correspondence"

    I see.
    Thank you very much!

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Laos

    • Join Date: Nov 2002
    • Posts: 57,864
    #8

    Re: "correspondence"

    You're welcome, PD.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •