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In the following paragraph:

This plot is a stray evidence of how Pearson correlation coefficient is often incomputable and hence ineffective.

What does the expression "a stray evidence" mean?

Could you give some more examples?

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"Evidence" is a mass noun, and doesn't take the indefinite article or number adjectives. If you want to specify just one, you say "a stray piece of evidence". –  Peter Shor Nov 1 '11 at 22:24

1 Answer 1

up vote 7 down vote accepted

A stray evidence refers to a piece of evidence that wasn't necessarily tied closely in to the subject. One of Dictionary.com's definitions of stray is:

10. found or occurring apart from others or as an isolated or casual instance; incidental or occasional.

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I'm afraid there aren't many examples for OP. Google finds 23 hits in total for a stray evidence, which net down to six distinct instances of a usage like OP's. Without the article, stray evidence scores a slightly more respectable 1000 or so. Not exactly commonplace, but enough to back me up in thinking this use of the article is a bit odd here. –  FumbleFingers Oct 28 '11 at 1:26
2  
"Evidence" is a mass noun, and doesn't take the indefinite article or number adjectives. If you want to specify just one, you say "a stray piece of evidence". –  Peter Shor Nov 1 '11 at 22:25

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