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I've recently wondered about the plural of the expression "Confirmation of Entry". A "Confirmation of Entry" is a piece of paper that Cambridge Assessment English gives candidates who are going to take a test. This document shows the details of the candidates as well as the test date and schedule. So recently I read "Confirmation of Entries" on a website and it read really weird, so I thought that it would be more appropriate to write "Confirmations of Entry". However, someone else suggested that it would be more correct to make both plural ("Confirmations of Entries"), so now I'm really unsure as to which is the best option. I would appreciate some feedback. Thanks.

  • If this were a phrase with a count status almost unique to CAE, there would be no real answer. However, an internet search shows that other bodies use "confirmation of entry" as a count (and concrete) noun, so it's at least approaching lexical status. Then CMNEN's argument becomes valid. – Edwin Ashworth Nov 16 '17 at 9:36
  • Note that the CAE exams generally consist of several separate tests, which can be on different dates and venues. Perhaps, this particular website referred to a single conformation about entry into e.g. both the oral and reading tests. – Sanchises Nov 16 '17 at 15:33
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    Note that using a document's purpose to refer to the document all by itself is shorthand. A clearer example would be someone declaring something like "I've got my degree hanging on the wall there". You wouldn't go wrong if you said "Confirmation of Entry documents". – Spencer Nov 16 '17 at 23:37
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  • Letter of recommendation (s)
  • Letters of recommendation (pl)
  • Letter of recommendations = A single letter with a list of recommendations
  • Letters of recommendations = Two or more letters, each one listing several recommendations.

    Think of it like this:

We have one letter of confirmation (s)
We have two letters of confirmation (pl)
We have a confirmation of entry (s)
We have two confirmations of entry (pl)

There can only be one admission per exam, not a letter confirming several admissions for the same candidate entering for a single exam. Two confirmations refer to two individual candidates.

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Confirmation is the main idea of the phrase, "of entry" describes the noun "confirmation" and does not stand alone.

Therefore, when creating the plural, the correct - as you said - is "confirmations of entry"

  • This is exactly what I thought, that's why "Confirmation of Entries" sounded so strange. Thanks. – KSE Academy Nov 17 '17 at 15:07
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In title-case it represents the name of a process and is not yours to modify.

'Confirmation of Entry'

In lower-case it's your description of their process, so it's valid to add an 's'.

confirmations of entry

Another option is to append a pluralised noun such as "notifications":

The system sent out multiple 'Confirmation of Entry' notifications by mistake.

  • This doesn't seem to agree with actual usage. I'm pretty sure most people are going to say "There are two Burger Kings in town", not "There are two Burger King in town" or "There are Two 'Burger King' restaurants in town." – David Richerby Nov 16 '17 at 15:16
  • @DavidRicherby it depends how formal the writing or speech is meant to be. Burger King themselves would use "Locations of our Burger King restaurants" and not "Locations of our Burger Kings", for example. However, my answer was only considering the name of a process in some system. – Rebel Gerbil Nov 16 '17 at 15:27
  • My example wasn't ideal. Burger King are concerned with maintaining their trademark, in the same way that Adobe wants us to "edit photos with Photoshop" rather than "Photoshop photos". If a trademark holder uses a trademark as an ordinary word (e.g., by pluralizing or conjugating it) that weakens their claim that it's a "special" word that deserves protection. (Having said that, McDonald's does sometimes pluralize "Big Mac"; e.g., here.) – David Richerby Nov 16 '17 at 17:28
  • @DavidRicherby There's no brand name involved here, I don't follow... – Rebel Gerbil Nov 16 '17 at 17:41
  • Sorry, I'm not being very clear. I'm saying that it's perfectly reasonable to pluralize "Confirmation of Entry", regardless of capitalization. My example to demonstrate that was "Burger King", which wasn't an ideal choice because, as you pointed out, it's a brand name and brand names are a bit special. I agree with that but, in common usage, nobody but the owner of the brand name cares. Normally, people just write "Burger Kings" or "Big Macs" so people would also write "Confirmations of Entry", which you're suggesting is wrong and I'm saying is just fine. – David Richerby Nov 16 '17 at 17:49
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A single or unique candidate has a "confirmation of entry" to a test. He doesn't need a lot of confirmations or entries.

Another case would be visiting a club or an event with a paid entry. The ticket would grant you to leave and reentry the venue. In that case, you could say that there is more than one entry possible.

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    I don't see how this answers the question. In particular, if there are two candidates, there are presumably two confirmations and two entries. – David Richerby Nov 16 '17 at 15:17

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