I was translating into English when the dictionary gave me a list of synonyms for the translation of one word, and I'm not sure which one to choose.

Which of the following synonyms would native speakers use in this sentence?

Knowledges of primitive people were very (confined/limited/scanty/bounded/ bordered/restricted or narrow).

For those who doubted that the plural form of knowledge exists:

Google Books reveals 453,000 results for knowledges

  • As I've written in the comment below, there are some answers about the pluralisation of uncountable nouns: english.stackexchange.com/questions/94082/… english.stackexchange.com/questions/174610/…
    – Katherina
    Apr 6, 2015 at 7:39
  • @ Mari-Lou A In the most daring dreams I wouldn't consider my English as flawless.Thank you for your opinion though.
    – Katherina
    Apr 6, 2015 at 13:41
  • Katherina, I have deleted my previous comments. It's clear my help is unwanted. As the saying goes, there are none so deaf as those who will not hear.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Apr 6, 2015 at 16:49
  • @ Mari-Lou A Wow, I thought I was quite polite. Didn't mean to hurt your feelings. It's unfortunate you took my words this way.
    – Katherina
    Apr 6, 2015 at 17:30
  • No feelings hurt. But thanking someone for their opinion is fairly dismissive. It means you've made your mind up. To be precise: I was offering concrete advice, not an opinion.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Apr 6, 2015 at 17:33

3 Answers 3


"Limited" and "scanty" would be the most common.

Confined, bounded, bordered, restricted, narrow, all imply that there is something specific limiting the knowledge in question. Sometimes this is the case. For example, a region may be ruled by a dictatorship which prevents foreigners and scholars from meeting the people in question. In that case, the word which would be used would be "restricted". But, do not use "restricted" unless the cause of the restriction is named, or it will sound as if you have used a thesaurus clumsily to replace a more common word.




into English


Your sentence should be something like:

The knowledge about primitive people(s) was very (limited, scarce, restricted).

"Knowledge" is uncountable and you can use it only in the singular.

See at


knowl‧edge [uncountable]

Also, at Google books:

"knowledge of many things" About 110,000 results

"knowledges of many things" 1 result


at the The British National Corpus (BNC)

try to look up for [no quotes]

knowledge about

381 found

knowledges about

1 found

which clearly shows that the plural should not be used, even when talking about multiple things.

  • @ Marius Hancu Thank you for your correction. Next time I will check what I write more thoroughly. In my sentense I wanted to say not "knowlege about primitive people" but "their knowleges". And I'm aware that "knowledge" is uncountable. But some uncountable nouns have plural form. For example, "territorial waters", "Sahara sands", "The snows of Kilimanjaro". So I suppose when I mean "what they know in general" it's possible to use plural form "knowleges"
    – Katherina
    Apr 5, 2015 at 6:49
  • 1
    But some uncountable nouns really are uncountable, and don't have plural forms. These are called singularia tantum . See this small portion of a list of uncountable nouns at Wiktionary en.wiktionary.org/w/… There are also thousands of words in English that have ONLY plural forms; these are called pluralia tantum en.m.wiktionary.org/wiki/Category:English_pluralia_tantum (a single one of such words is a plurale tantum). Apr 5, 2015 at 8:26
  • @ Brian Hitchcock Thank you for precise terminology. I've never heard of this terms before. I've followed your link and an article in Wiktionary confirms that there is a plural form "knowleges".
    – Katherina
    Apr 5, 2015 at 8:49
  • 1
    @Katherina You're supposing wrong. You should only use "knowledge" in the singular, irrespective of how many things you intend to say you know. And always with "dg." Apr 5, 2015 at 10:56
  • @ Marius Hancu There are some answers about the pluralisation of uncountable nouns: english.stackexchange.com/questions/94082/… english.stackexchange.com/questions/174610/…
    – Katherina
    Apr 5, 2015 at 12:06

unknowledgeable - Unaware because of a lack of relevant information or knowledge WordWeb.

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