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Incidence vs. incidents

The closely related incidence and incidents can be can be used to express the same ideas, but incidence is usually a singular mass noun (meaning it can’t be plural), and incidents is a plural noun. So, for example, where we would say the incidence of theft in the neighborhood has increased this year, we might instead say the incidents of theft in the neighborhood have become more numerous this year. Incidence calls for singular verb forms, and incidents calls for plural.


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Incidences might be useful in rare instances, such as when comparing the incidences of something in two different areas, but in most cases it can give way to either incidence or incidents.

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