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Which of the following should I use?

  • Select between Mesh, Solid or Surface modeling technology.
  • Select between Mesh, Solid or Surface modeling technologies.
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closed as not a real question by Kris, Bill Franke, Robusto, MετάEd, cornbread ninja 麵包忍者 Jan 9 '13 at 1:27

It's difficult to tell what is being asked here. This question is ambiguous, vague, incomplete, overly broad, or rhetorical and cannot be reasonably answered in its current form. For help clarifying this question so that it can be reopened, visit the help center.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

@corbread ninja- I think solid or surface is a modifier for technology. – Noah Jun 28 '12 at 15:25
The plural would match best, because there is a list of alternatives. But I'd also like to suggest you would write choose between or select from, rather than select between which sounds uneasy to my ear. Given that the use of technology to encompass any slightly new widget is becoming a ridiculous cliche, you might go for techniques instead, or just leave it off and have models. – Brian Hooper Jun 28 '12 at 15:26
@Noah, mesh, solid, and surface modeling are three separate CAD modeling approaches. Each of those terms modifies the word modeling, not technology. – jwpat7 Jun 28 '12 at 16:54
@jwpat7-Sorry, I meant modeling. Don't know about CAD, but the way solid and surface were phrased in the orignal question made them sound like a single modifier. – Noah Jun 28 '12 at 17:03
@jwpat7- Your example is much clearer. – Noah Jun 28 '12 at 17:08
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Neither is quite right, and neither should be used. Ordinarily, using conjunction or causes reference to a single member of the list of three items, rather than providing a plural number of items to choose from. Instead use either of

  • Select Mesh, Solid, or Surface modeling technology.
  • Select from among Mesh, Solid, and Surface modeling technologies.
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I like these choices but I would remove "from" in your second choice, so it would read "Select among Mesh..." – Tom Hughes Jun 28 '12 at 21:54
@Tom, according to ngrams for Select from among,select from among,Select among,select among, until ca. 1975 "select from among" was consistently more popular than "select among", but that has reversed in recent years. – jwpat7 Jun 28 '12 at 22:52

Only the second is grammatical. Let's untangle this a little bit.

Suppose you wanted to say something similar about models, which one would you use from the following?

(There is a separate issue because of OP's comma-punctuation convention. Following examples are edited for pedagogical clarity.)

Please choose between black and white model.
Please choose between black and white models.

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Noah, I meant to just fix 3 misspellings, but ended up adding a few words to clarify meaning of third paragraph. Please re-edit if I misunderstood. – jwpat7 Jun 28 '12 at 21:17

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