beginnings of a sob

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Senior Member
Cantonese, Hong Kong
I crept down the hall, where I tried to make out what June and Neil were saying in the parlor. ....... I hightailed it back to the den, but not before I heard the beginnings of a sob in June's throat

Source: The Secret Life of Bees

Hi, I would like to know why plural is used here? Is it wrong if I use "beginning"? Thanks for your help~~
  • Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    It's an interesting question, Redgiant.

    I think beginning would sound more specific, more precise.

    Beginnings suggests that you heard all the coincidental noises, the intake and exhalation of breath, the shuffling of the feet, etc. It evokes for me a more complicated set of sensory signals.
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