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Which is correct?

The newspaper described the success of people like Bob and Joe.

The newspaper described the successes of people like Bob and Joe.

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3 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Both sentences are correct, since success can be used as a countable or uncountable noun.

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Which one do you think sounds better? –  David Zhu Aug 20 '12 at 22:59
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"The success of" is much more common and sounds more natural to me: books.google.com/ngrams/… . You would use successes of if you were pointing out two distinct kinds of success, though. –  Jeremy Aug 20 '12 at 23:05
    
+1 I would favour successes in contexts where I was also acknowledging the failures either explicitly or (thouh less likely) implicitly, I think. –  Wudang Aug 21 '12 at 12:17
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Both are correct, but have slightly different meanings.

"Describing the success" of someone has a more general tone. For instance, the article might discuss Bob's overall career - e.g. "he rose to the top of his company and turned it into the worldwide market leader it is today."

"Describing the successes" of someone implies a discussion of each particular triumph. For instance, the article might discuss particular events in Bob's career - e.g. "his high-quality tender won his company the crucial widget contract with GloboCorp. He then was selected as team leader despite being the youngest on his team."

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Both are correct in their own sense..

Success can be pronounced as the dual meaning to target one or more than one person i.e countable as above mentioned above by Jasper Loy.

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