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    #1

    Level or Levels

    Please help with a problem with a noncount noun that can be a countable noun:

    I know that certain uncountable nouns can be counted if they refer to concrete and specific instances, otherwise abstract or general.

    1.a. We studied 700 mothers in town A based on their level of education.

    1.b. Why not "We studied 700 mothers in town A based on their levels of education?

    Thank you for your anticipated help.

  1. Soup's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Level or Levels

    Quote Originally Posted by kooiu View Post
    Please help with a problem with a noncount noun that can be a countable noun:

    I know that certain uncountable nouns can be counted if they refer to concrete and specific instances, otherwise abstract or general.

    1.a. We studied 700 mothers in town A based on their level of education.

    1.b. Why not "We studied 700 mothers in town A based on their levels of education?

    Thank you for your anticipated help.
    Levels of education are hierarchically ordered (See The structure of education in the United States), and so only the last achievement, not all, needs to be considered.

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    #3

    Re: Level or Levels

    Soup,
    Thank you for your prompt response. Please did you mean that "level" in my sentence 1.a. refers to "structure"? I am still confused as to when to use "levels" and "level" based on the general/abstract and concrete/specific matrix of noncount

  2. Soup's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Level or Levels

    Quote Originally Posted by kooiu View Post
    Soup,
    Thank you for your prompt response. Please did you mean that "level" in my sentence 1.a. refers to "structure"? I am still confused as to when to use "levels" and "level" based on the general/abstract and concrete/specific matrix of noncount
    'Level of education' refers to the last level achieved, and plural 'levels of education' refers to all the levels.

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    #5

    Re: Level or Levels

    Quote Originally Posted by kooiu View Post
    Please help with a problem with a noncount noun that can be a countable noun:

    I know that certain uncountable nouns can be counted if they refer to concrete and specific instances, otherwise abstract or general.

    1.a. We studied 700 mothers in town A based on their level of education.

    1.b. Why not "We studied 700 mothers in town A based on their levels of education?

    Thank you for your anticipated help.
    It's true that, with 700 mothers, you will have 700 levels of education as statistics, since each mother has one level. On the other hand there might only be 3 or 4 actual levels which mothers may have reached, as the independent variable.
    But "level" is used here as a non-count noun.

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    #6

    Re: Level or Levels

    Thank you Raymott for your clearer response.


    Just for clarity's sake, does it mean that "level" is used in a general or abstract sense without reference to specific or concrete levels?

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    #7

    Re: Level or Levels

    Quote Originally Posted by kooiu View Post
    Thank you Raymott for your clearer response.


    Just for clarity's sake, does it mean that "level" is used in a general or abstract sense without reference to specific or concrete levels?
    "We studied 700 mothers in town A based on their level of education."
    Yes, in that sentence it does.
    Later in the article, they will have to use it in a concrete way.
    "We found that their level [abstract] of education could be divided into 4 levels [concrete].
    That's not a good sentence, but it illustrates the two meanings.

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    #8

    Re: Level or Levels

    Thank you Raymott for your excellent help.

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