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I am working on a manual where they are trying to say that something support from 2 TB (terabytes) to 8 TB (terabytes) of flash memory per channel. The audience is programming engineers.

It is written: "Supports 2TB-8TB flash memories per channel."

I believe that it should be written: "Supports 2TBs-8TBs of flash memory per channel."

Which one is correct?

marked as duplicate by TimLymington, Dan Bron, Edwin Ashworth, Hellion, Drew Mar 19 '16 at 1:56

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  • Depends on whether the technical writer meant memory as a mass noun, as in RAM, or a count noun, as in DIMM or SSD. In other words, both "Supports 2-8TB flash RAM per channel" and "Supports 2-8TB flash SSDs per channel" are correct. – Dan Bron Mar 18 '16 at 18:54
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    TB is an SI unit symbol. It should not be written TBs. There should be a space between the numeral and the symbol. Either "2 TB -- 8 TB of flash memory" or "2 -- 8 TB of flash memory". See here. – bradimus Mar 18 '16 at 18:57
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    You are correct. Flash memory is a thing. Flash memories are not. Unless you're writing a science-fiction novel in which flashes are sentient beings. Oh, and "2TB", please. Not "2TBs". Just like you don't write "It's 20°s F outside" or "it's 20 °Fs outside", or "This cord is 2ms long". It's 2m long. Edit: ninja'd by bradimus. – RegDwigнt Mar 18 '16 at 18:59
  • @RegDwigнt Clearly you've never been to San Francisco. Like all memories; there are good flash memories and bad flash memories. – Elliott Frisch Mar 18 '16 at 19:03
  • Yes, I should add that flash memories totally are countable in specific contexts. Not just SanFran memories, PC memories, too. Just like milks and sugars and waters and cheeses. It is specifically in this here context that we have 2TB–8TB of memory and not 2TB–8TB memories. Just like you have 2l–8l of milk and not 2l–8l milks. Oh, and yeah: use an en dash in there (–), not a hyphen (-). – RegDwigнt Mar 18 '16 at 19:08
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"Memories" is the word for things from the post that you remember. You have fond memories of your first dog, or of your wedding day, and horrible memories of a car crash that you were involved in.

"Memory" is the word for data storage. In the situation that you describe, you wouldn't use the plural. Never. "Supports 2TBs-8TBs of flash memory per channel." is absolutely correct. "Supports 2TB-8TB flash memories per channel." is either a native speaker with no knowledge whatsoever of technical terms, or a very bad non-native speaker. Either way, if you talk about "flash memories" I would very much distrust your competence.

  • I'm not happy with "Supports 2TBs-8TBs of flash memory per channel."As with all the unit abbreviations I'm familiar with, TB does not change form when indicating a plural. 1A and 3A, 1V and 17V, 1TB and 2TB etc. – Edwin Ashworth Mar 19 '16 at 0:28
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Neither construction is correct. It should be "2TB-8TB of flash memory".

In the technical context, "B" generally represents a unit of "bytes" and "b" represents "bits". For your usage here, the point is that the abbreviated unit is already plural, so an "s" after the unit is redundant.

Oh, and "memory" is a collective noun which describes a component of a computer in the abstract. You would only ever consider "memories" if you were trying to construct a sentence that referred to multiple delineated types of memory as a collective. For example:

"I checked the Read-Only Memory and the Random Access Memory and both memories were empty."

As you can see, that's a really awkard construct that's also really easy to avoid, so you pretty much NEVER see the word "memories" in a technical context.

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    The abbreviated unit represents the singular or the plural. 1A and 15A; 1TB and 4TB. – Edwin Ashworth Mar 19 '16 at 0:29

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