Monday, April 21, 2008

More Choice/Choices

‘Video gamers get more choice with new ratings system’
(Straits Times headline, 15 April 2008).

‘More mature choices for adult gamers’
(Today headline, 15 April 2008).

Two headlines from two different newspapers, reporting the same news on the same day, but it’s interesting to note that the Straits Times prefers treating choice as uncountable (much/more choice) whereas Today favours the countable use (many/more choices).

Where the intended meaning is ‘range of options’, choice is uncountable in Standard English (more choice rather than more choices).

No doubt the adjective mature necessitates the countable use in Today’s headline, but it’s worth noting that even in the body text, Today uses choices where Standard English would prefer choice: ‘The introduction of a classification for video games — one that gives Singapore gamers more choices while allowing parents to play a protective role …’


Shuyan said...

hi, ludwig, i chanced upon your blog. It's interesting!

Michirure said...

Hmmm, I'm still confused about the singular and plural form of 'choice'. I see "choices" often in books, so when do we use its plural form?

(Don't worry I will come back to check for a reply, even though this post is quite old. ^^)

To shuyan:
It's good that you have, now you know better than to accept all that those "experts" say!

The Grammar Terrorist said...

Hi, Michirure

Essentially, I think you use 'choices' when there are clear, separate options, e.g. 'I told him he could order any books he wanted, but his choices were very unusual'.

Where you mean a range of options in the sense of 'variety', then you use 'choice' uncountably (never with -s plural).

But I do admit that there's a very fine line between the two, especially in the examples I quoted from ST and Today.