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What is the difference between (i) "varieties of choice" and (ii) "variety of choices"? Does the location of singular or plural in a sentence affect the entire meaning of a sentence?

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    'A variety of' is used as a pseudo-partitive (like 'a number of') (but obviously, unlike 'a number of', also includes semantic information). The phrase 'a variety of choices' is idiomatic. 'Varieties of choice' would be unusual, and would probably mean 'different penchants exercised by different people making choices'. Feb 28, 2018 at 9:28
  • No doubt, 'variety' is singular, and 'varieties' is plural. Variety itself has a plural tone like people. People (Sing.) Peoples (Plural) is also used when the latter refers to more than one sects, groups, tribes of people. We say, "There is a lot of variety/ varieties".
    – Ram Pillai
    Dec 5, 2019 at 6:55

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These two phrases are different. For the everyday situation where there are many options in front of you, "variety of choices" is standard and idiomatic. There are a couple of ways "varieties of choice" could be interpreted:

  1. As an indication that the options being presented have already been narrowed down based on some quality criteria or preference. For example, "Of all the varieties of liqueur, Fernet and St-Germaine are my varieties of choice". Note that this uses "variety" to mean "a specific type of something (when other types exist)" as opposed "multiple types of something" (definition 4 and 3, respectively)
  2. As a description of multiple facets of the idea of choice (decision-making) itself. For example, see this academic article, which describes the spiritual and the political as two varieties of human choice.
  3. As a poetic, nonstandard phrasing of "variety of choices", used for literary effect.
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There doesn't appear to be a difference in meaning. Really seems like it's more so a difference in what sounds better in a sentence.

For example:

(a) Since you are a loyal GOLD VISA rewards member, you have more varieties of choice in monthly perks.

(b) Since you are a GOLD loyal VISA rewards member, you have more of a variety of choices in monthly perks.

I think sentence b is a smoother sentence than sentence a.

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  • With regard to "variety of choices," sure, though I dunno about "a GOLD loyal VISA"... Aug 26, 2021 at 16:09

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