feedback - singular only?

mutant12

Member
Polish
Hi to all,

I've been editing an article on internet auction services where the author repeatedly uses the word "feedback" in plural ("the number of feedbacks a user gets", etc.). Now, I've always thought feedback can only be singular... Have I been wrong or rather the author of the article is wrong? If the latter, what word would you suggest as a replacement? The concept refers to "grading" a user on the basis of how well a transaction went - in some cases it's descriptive, in others you actually give marks.
 
  • entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    I agree that normally feedback is a mass, so we would talk of the amount of feedback. But in the case of Internet comments or hits, clearly there are a countable number of individual . . . somethings. What do we call these things, if they express feedback? The number of feedback responses/messages/appraisals . . .? These all seem long-winded. Using the count plural 'feedbacks' seems like a natural solution.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Could you use "amount of feedback" rather than "number of feedbacks"?
    I accept that "feedbacks" is logical in the context given and it probably will catch on, but it still sounds awkward to me:(.

    EDIT: I see Amazon uses "Feedback count" for 'number of comments'.
     
    Last edited:

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    Feedbacks seems all right for all the reasons ETB offers... if you just need one word, then "responses" seems fine. But you can't alternate words and confuse the reader, so whatever word you choose, you'll have to use throughout... meaning that you might as well stick with feedbacks.
     

    mutant12

    Member
    Polish
    Thanks for the answers. I've decided to indicate the problem to the author and to make him decide - he probably knows best if in his field the word is used in plural or not. Sometimes it's difficult to combine handbook English with real-life English.
     

    Slavianophil

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Is it possible to say 'collect feedbacks' in English? The context is: "A focus group was organised to collect feedbacks about the ... project'. I think it's wrong and want to replace it with 'to get feedback'. What would native speakers say?
     

    pinkkatze

    Senior Member
    English
    You could say 'collect feedbacks' or 'gather feedbacks'. These two sound better than 'to get feedback' which does make sense but is not as "nice" to hear as the other two
     

    Slavianophil

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Thank you. As far as I understand, 'feedbacks' is a possible option, but it looks awkward to many native speakers.
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    Is it possible to say 'collect feedbacks' in English? The context is: "A focus group was organised to collect feedbacks about the ... project'. I think it's wrong and want to replace it with 'to get feedback'. What would native speakers say?
    I agree with your thought - it is wrong in this context. The example in the original post was, to my mind, a very clumsy pluralisation of the word and wholly unnecessary because other words already exist to do the job. I would, however, not use "get" because the function of the group is to collect feedback - why change the verb?

    You could say 'collect feedbacks' or 'gather feedbacks'. These two sound better than 'to get feedback' which does make sense but is not as "nice" to hear as the other two
    Really? I think they sound terrible. (because of the "s", not because of the choice of verbs.)
     

    Egmont

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    You can get feedback from one person or from ten people. As far as my sense of the word goes, it's still feedback. If you want to emphasize that there were several items, you do what you do with any other mass noun: add a unit of measure. Just as you can say "two tons of sand" but not "two sands," here we can refer to ten survey forms, ten responses, ten people who provided feedback, or any number of others.

    I understand that some people find "feedbacks" acceptable. Enough people don't, myself included, that I'd suggest avoiding it if there is any alternative - as there always is. Why write something that you know half* your readers will consider wrong, if you don't have to?

    (For what it's worth, I spent a lot of time studying feedback in control systems as an engineering student. The term there was feedback loops. We never had "feedbacks.")

    __________________________
    *Feel free to substitute the fraction of your choice, as long as it's a lot bigger than zero.
     
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