Hi everyone!
My students have the annoying habit of not doing as I told them Emotion: wink ... Seriously: I usually insist that they use the word "event" when they refer to any kind of occurence, be it historical or fictional (i.e. when they relate the plot of a novel or a play). However, they carry on using "happening" instead, which sounds rather strange to me, since I associate that term with special kinds of modern art.

Here are a few examples:
In a test on Arthur Miller's "Crucible" some students wrote sentences like: "In Parris's house they talk about the happenings in the woods." (i.e. the dancing of the girls)
In a test on the McCarthy era, some use expressions like "Historians have an objective view on the happenings of that time."

Both examples sound rather strange, if not altogether wrong, to me. I would prefer the word "events" in both cases.
What do native speakers say?
Curious,
Andreas.
Andreas Schlenger filted:
Hi everyone! My students have the annoying habit of not doing as I told them Emotion: wink ... Seriously: I usually ... if not altogether wrong, to me. I would prefer the word "events" in both cases. What do native speakers say?

This native speaker says that the two examples you give, with "happenings" as a plural, are normal and unremarkable...the same noun in the singular smacks of the Austin Powers era, just before the term was replaced by "be-in", which in turn became "thing" ("I can't come over Thursday; I have a thing")..

Is it real? Is it fake?
Is this game of life a mistake?
'Cause when I lost the love I thought was mine
For certain
Suddenly it starts hurtin'
I saw the light too late
When that fickle finger of fate
Yeah! It came and broke my pretty balloon
I woke up
Suddenly I just woke up
..r
Hi everyone! My students have the annoying habit of not doing as I told them Emotion: wink ... Seriously: I usually ... if not altogether wrong, to me. I would prefer the word "events" in both cases. What do native speakers say?

happening - singular - makes me think of a 1960's love-in or pop concert

happenings - plural - as used by your students sounds perfectly fine and idiomatic to this BrE native speaker. The former example is especially apt as 'happenings' often has the overtones of 'shenanigans' (sp?) or 'goings-on' i.e. something that perhaps ought not to be happening! I would never use the singular instead of 'event' though. Americans, Australians etc. may have other opinions.
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Hi everyone! My students have the annoying habit of not doing as I told them Emotion: wink ... Seriously: I usually ... if not altogether wrong, to me. I would prefer the word "events" in both cases. What do native speakers say?

The AmE speaker would always say "event(s)" and never "happening(s)" unless talking about some 1960s or '70s love-ins or the Woodstock concert in 1969. Those were "happenings", as in " happens".

Franke: EFL teacher & medical editor
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The AmE speaker would always say "event(s)" and never "happening(s)" unless talking about some 1960s or '70s love-ins or the Woodstock concert in 1969. Those were "happenings", as in " happens".

Of course an AmE speaker would use "happening" in cases where the word fit the intended use. Not all of us write so ploddingly as you.

Tony Cooper
Orlando FL