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Which of these two is correct, and why?

  • two kinds of televisions
  • two kinds of television
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2 Answers 2

Assuming you're specifically interested in talking about television, (as opposed to whether one uses plural or singular nouns after "two kinds of" in general), it depends on context.

"Two kinds of televisions" would refer to different kinds of television sets, as in "We have two kinds of televisions: color and black-and-white."

"Two kinds of television" could refer to different kinds of televised programming, as in, "Programming for kids and programming for adults are two kinds of television."

Compare countable and uncountable definitions of television on wiktionary.

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-1: The question title asks whether "two kinds of" should be followed by a singular or plural noun. Clearly OP isn't asking whether the particular noun he happened to choose for an example can have different meanings in singular and plural form. –  FumbleFingers Feb 20 '13 at 17:02
    
I agree with FumbleFingers. Carolyn's answer is correct. television in this example happens to be a noun that can be both countable and uncountable. If A is a countable noun in two kinds of A, the expression should be two kinds of As(plural form). –  Jiancheng Zou Feb 26 '13 at 2:48
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The whole issue has been debated here before; I am only posting an answer because Bossinique's answer is unsubstantiated and very misleading, and Carolyn's unsubstantiated and somewhat misleading.

In the Types of things vs. types of thing thread (Types of things vs. types of thing), there is a more reasoned discussion than the above; the bottom line (in both senses) from eric.cheung being

There are many discussions on this type of things ...     I read quite a few 
threads about this on StackExchange.com and I found there were no clear answers.

He adds substantiating statistics concerning the acceptability of the different usages.

I'll just add a thought - there is a discussion at the linked thread about whether the noun following 'kinds of' being mass or count makes a difference. I'm sure it can, but with many nouns having dual existences (What kinds of men do you meet in your job? Charles Darwin on the Races of Man.) - the difference not always clear-cut from a semantic viewpoint - the issue is not easily resolved. In addition, the 'kinds of' structure is often used with a singular count noun (or what looks more like a count noun than a mass noun): There are now various different kinds of television: LCD, LED, plasma ...

And, included in the first 6 returns for a Google search for "types of microscope":

Different Types of Microscope: How to Select a Light Microscope
There are many different types of microscope. 

Different Types Of Microscopes
A look at the different types of microscopes and what they are used for.

Types of microscope - Human Anatomy
There are two main categories of microscopes ...
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