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

Should I use "probabilities" or "probability" in the following sentence?

Consider a probability vector v containing the probabilities of jumping to each vertex.

share|improve this question
This appears to be a fragment, not a sentence; and it's not clear which word you are asking about -- is it the first "probability" or the second "probabilities" you are considering? – Andrew Leach Jun 6 '12 at 23:35
@AndrewLeach 'consider' is imperative. – Mitch Jun 7 '12 at 0:04
are the probabilities (the coordinates of the vector presumably) distinct or are they all identical? – Mitch Jun 7 '12 at 0:05
my problem is about the second probabilities. Each vertex has a probability and they are placed in vector v. Should I use probabilities? – Shayan Jun 7 '12 at 0:14

For each vertex, there's only one probability. So you should say "... containing the probability of jumping to each vertex".

share|improve this answer

Since a probability vector is a nonnegative vector whose coordinates sum to 1 ... If that is what you are talking about "a probability vector" would do it. It's much more a maths question .

edit: following your edit, it's more clear (it initially looked like your v was standing for versus), then, since in a probability vector there are several probabilities, the plural is ok for the second occurrence.

edit #2: I guess you are talking about being in one given vertex, which is associated to a vector giving the probabilities for going to one of the other vertices, right ?

share|improve this answer

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.