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I am starting to see the word "recount" used as a noun, even in the plural as "recounts", when the context makes it clear that this refers to the telling of a story (and definitely not something being counted for a second time as in re-count).

This is turning up in homework assignments and descriptions of class work from my childrens' primary school. For example "This week we will be comparing different types of writing such as instructions, poetry and recounts"; "Study the pictures and then write a recount in your own words".

My dictionaries only show "recount" as a verb in this sense, the noun can only mean the second counting of something (eg votes). Of course, the word "recounts" is a valid third person present tense derivative.

I suspect some confusion with "account", which may be compounded by mishearing eg "give us your account..." / "give us your recount..." and then the word "recount" being used following words not ending in an "r". (this is a possibly "eggcorn" explanation).

I accept that language can change over time, but have not come across this usage anywhere else. I would value any input on its correctness or otherwise before raising the issue with the school. I would hope that when teaching literacy, the use of correct English is itself taken seriously.

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    Seems this isn't a new phenomenon and isn't only at your school: wordwizard.com/phpbb3/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=18542 – Ronan May 13 '14 at 10:54
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    @Ronan That brings back memories ... the recounting of 'Robin Wood'. – Edwin Ashworth May 13 '14 at 11:07
  • The associated noun with the 'narrative' sense is apparently recountal. – Edwin Ashworth May 13 '14 at 11:13
  • @Edwin, I was writing my answer.. No plagiarism on you note. – user66974 May 13 '14 at 11:17
  • @Josh61 It's tempting to discount 'recountal'; your Ngram gives us the ammunition to do so. – Edwin Ashworth May 13 '14 at 11:29
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Actually the noun is recountal and Ngram reveals very little usage of both 'recount' and 'recountal compared to 'story'. Nonetheless if you google it you may find it is used regarding story telling. Ngram2

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The other answer is surprising to me. "Recountal" is a word, but it's extremely rare, as Josh61 mentions. "Recounting" as in "his recounting of the story was excellent" is three orders of magnitude more common, per Ngram. I think the OP should use "recounting".

  • Hi Shane, I had shown a wrong NGram, sorry, I have edited the correct one now. As for recount vs recounting as a noun, as you can see in Ngram2 , they appear to be equally common, even if you graph them without the indeterminative article, the result is about the same. – user66974 May 13 '14 at 12:49

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