(Context: local middle school gave each student a personal Chromebook in September. Letter to administrator about problems, that were not solved by opting my child out of the Chromebook three weeks ago.)

When M uses the Chromebook, he compulsively surfs the web. When he doesn't use it, he feels like an afterthought. I'm starting to wonder, who is more tech-addicted -- M, or the teachers in whose classes the Chromebook is so ubiquitous?

Is that right? Or should I say

... the teachers in whose classes Chromebook usage is so ubiquitous?

  • 1
    It's really just a stylistic choice, but I have the impression ubiquitous is more likely to be used of concrete nouns such as Chromebooks. Abstract nouns such as usage are more likely to be prevalent. – FumbleFingers Oct 25 '15 at 18:21
  • @FumbleFingers - Thank you. Make it an answer and I'll accept it! // I really want to say "ubiquitous", "prevalent" just doesn't do it for me in this context. I want to express the idea that it's impossible to get away from the *$(%$! things. My son says you can't even have a conversation with someone in the cafeteria any more -- "Don't bother me! I'm about to win this level!" – aparente001 Oct 25 '15 at 19:14
  • It's only my opinion - I'll be interested to see if others agree with it, but more importantly someone may be able to produce evidence (which would interest me even more, even if it conflicts with what I said). Incidentally, I don't understand what you mean by he feels like an afterthought. – FumbleFingers Oct 25 '15 at 19:23
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    I wouldn't use so before ubiquitous. I would use ubiquitous alone and hope that readers would understand that I was using ubiquitous in the sense of "present everywhere in the defined area"—an idea that is stronger than either prevalent or so prevalent. – Sven Yargs Oct 26 '15 at 10:05
  • @SvenYargs - good point. – aparente001 Nov 4 '15 at 2:51

I agree with @FumbleFingers that this is a matter of personal stylistic preference. Both options are perfectly grammatical and correct.

Personally, I would prefer "in whose classes the Chromebook is so ubiquitous", just because it seems punchier.

Regarding the type of nouns used with ubiquitous: the CORPUS OF CONTEMPORARY AMERICAN ENGLISH provides evidence that the top five nouns that go after the word are abstract ones (with "nature" obviously acting as an abstract one as well):

enter image description here

This is a collocation search for "ubiquitous" that includes only nouns following the target word with a distance of one.

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