English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I'm looking for a way to identify a specific amount of feedback items I'm visualizing in a list.

The construction of the sentence needs to be generic, so I can't use something like Feedback received 14 times. What I'm actually looking for is something in a similar form to Showing 14 received feedbacks. The problem here is that feedback appears to be an uncountable noun, so it would be incorrect to pluralise it into feedbacks. A similar idea would be Showing 14 feedback points, but this compound might not be simple or flexible enough.

Is there a succint way to express feedback in plural?

share|improve this question
Showing 14 feedback reports/items. – Jim Jun 9 '14 at 1:23
Fourteen pieces of feedback? Or informally, 'chunks'. – neubau Jun 9 '14 at 3:16
[MASS NOUN] oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/feedback See the examples listed too. – Kris Jun 9 '14 at 5:27

Feedback, as you acknowledge, is not a countable noun. Therefore, to indicate plurality it is necessary to attach it to something that does have a plural form.

  • Feedback from 14 sources (or respondents, participants, etc.
  • Fourteen feedback messages
  • Fourteen instances of feedback

I do see some indications online (blogposts and the like) that feedback may be considered by some to be a countable noun now and that a plural form, feedbacks, may be used. However, it seems awkward to my eye and ear--no doubt due to unfamiliarity.

share|improve this answer
I think the term originally given -- feedback items -- is the appropriate venereal term. – John Lawler Jun 9 '14 at 3:54
You do not seem to have consulted a dictionary to resolve the "unfamiliarity." – Kris Jun 9 '14 at 5:28
I've never seen a noun move from being 'not a countable noun' to 'may be considered by some to be a countable noun' so quickly. How does a self-contradictory answer get even a single upvote? This answer at english forums seems more accurate if equally unattested. Wiktionary says that the French, having borrowed the word, use the plural count noun. – Edwin Ashworth Jun 9 '14 at 6:42
@ Edwin Ashworth. I did come across the answer you cite at english forums, and, although it reports on some apparent usage of feedbacks, I did not find it persuasive. Nevertheless, I should have cited it under the guise of "showing my work" (such as it was). Is my answer self-contradictory? Yes. Isn't language? – GMB Jun 9 '14 at 11:13
@EdwinAshworth -- This feedback is a bit late, but feedbacks is widely used in the technical literature when multiple feedback mechanisms are present at once. For example, see nature.com/nature/journal/v408/n6809/full/408184a0.html , onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1465-7295.1969.tb01462.x/… , sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0167691193900333 . – David Hammen Jul 7 at 19:39

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.