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Hi,

As far as I remember, someone has indicated in his response that an abstract noun does not usually take a determiner like "the" unless the author does it for stylistic reason, but I think even (?) abstract nouns can take on, aside from being stylistic, the determiner "the" under a right context. Can any one give me some examples where they can take on "thes"?
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Comments  (Page 2) 
Thank you.

I thank you for your very informative explanation and am sure a lot of people will be benefited as they review it or study over?? it.
Mister MicawberVery comprehensive and well-considered presentation, Aperisic, thank you.

( I think you intend 'My children are my two happinesses'-- a fine example.)

Thank you. I did it for myself, so why not to share.

Of course, it should be My children are my two happinesses but I decided carelessly to follow the found custom of leaving happiness intact. We follow the same rule as with business - businesses, but both happiness and happinesses are wrongly used around in plural, for example, when Chinese restaurants are named Three Happiness, Four Happiness, Five Happiness… you wouldn’t believe how far it goes.Emotion: smile

Anyhow that was not the point, but I will complete the story. When the word is derived using ness (busy+ness = business) to create the plural the strict grammar requires +es. Many abstract nouns of this sort are anyhow rarely used and even more they do not have plural and some of them are difficult to pronounce. If for any reason you need the plural form you should have

  • luckiness - luckinesses
  • pleasantness - pleasantnesses
  • fearlessness - fearlessnesses
  • vigorousness - vigorousnesses
  • willingness - wilingnesses


  • regardless of how difficult it could be to pronounce.Emotion: sad However, some of them are rarely used, they do not have plural, so when you create in the seriously artificial way the plural, you could get a comical effect, which you probably don't want to.

    For example, fearlessnesses is found in a dictionary as an accepted word (The four fearlessnesses of Buddha), but vigorousnesses is not, though it is a normal derivative. My wrong reason for not using hapinesses is not to sound funny and because hapiness has some wrong plural usages as, again, hapiness. And the remark is in place. So no happinesses with anything blurred, blued, greened or unclear - just happinesses.
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If I edited your post, then readers would be unable to follow our discussion, Asperisic.

Unfortunately, these-- 'Three Happiness, Four Happiness, Five Happiness'-- sound very non-native, Aperisic. Though the -es plural (happinesses) may be difficult for you to pronounce, they are the only acceptable form that I am aware of. I would like to know where you discovered 'the found custom of leaving happiness intact'.
Mister MicawberUnfortunately, these-- 'Three Happiness, Four Happiness, Five Happiness'-- sound very non-native. Though the -es plural (happinesses) may be difficult for you to pronounce, they are the only acceptable form that I am aware of. I would like to know where you discovered 'the found custom of leaving happiness intact'.
As I said, before I first wrote hapinesses (you can see (?) in the original text few lines above) I decided to look a little bit around and I found that people give restaurants names like Three Happiness, Four Happiness, Five Happiness

I know it is not correct (before I wrote it I was thinking what to do) but I wrongly said why bothering people with something that is anyhow an exception by itself in anyhow difficult subject. But let's go to the bottom of my decision you can learn from my mistake, maybe:

  • Three Happiness, Chicago
  • Four Happiness, the name of Chinese meal
  • Five Happiness, New Orleans, San Francisco
  • Six Happiness, New York
  • Seven Happiness, meal
  • Eight Happiness, the movie name (though I am not sure if it really should be Eighth Happiness, which is as Mister Micawber said as well grammatically perfectly correct, Yahoo movies: Eight Hapiness, IMDB: both Eighth Hapiness and Eight Hapiness)
  • Nine happiness, (this is in form thirty-nine happiness)
  • Ten Happiness, expression: ten happiness situation and few more like that


  • However, all these are most Chinese or Oriental, yet other occurrences with +es are rare and again not far from oriental. Of course other examples exists as well

    • The Inn of the Eight Happinesses
    However, interesting enough hapinesses are anyhow found almost exclusively only in the oriental and spiritual texts.

    What I wanted to say with using or not using +es with abstract nouns. You should always use +es, but it is possible that the plural without +es has the specific and accepted meaning that is exactly what you need or maybe not what you need. Or, it can happen that plural with +es means something specific you do not need to allude in your text at all. Not only that, adding +es to the abstract noun can have a very jocular or sarcastic tone. So you should think if plural is good at all. Here is one example:

    They don't send money for such secular unholinesses like WATER, FOOD, BLANKETS. No; they only send money for extremist mosques, militias, missionaries, and madrassas [sic].

    Here, the writer is very angry that they do not send money for, for them, completely unimportant essentials, but they, as if that is only what their religion is/were about, think only about the armory and the war.

    So be careful with abstract nouns in plural. To complete this Use +es with words ending in , as the grammar requires (or you'll fail your exam), but if you can search a little bit around to find how that plural or singular is really used for.

    Other than with this, I cannot defend my deliberate mistake of using happiness and not hapinesses.

    [sic] - meaning: though not correct this is how it is found in the text
I am not trying to defend myself, only to give some more examples where plural and singular of the abstract nouns are important

  • holiness - the state or quality of being holy
  • holiness - spiritual or religious leader (usually the Pope or other high bishop or episcope, written as (His) Holiness)
  • holinesses - different states or quality of being holy
  • holinesses - spiritual or religious leaders (their holinesses)


    • His Holiness - usually the Pope
    • Their Holinesses - several spiritual leaders
    • Their Holiness - again the Pope or other leader, but addressed with higher admiration


    • If the reason of difficult pronunciation is why you do not like to add +es here is some practice for you:

      cholinesterases, comradelinesses, consideratenesses, heartsicknesses, intricatenesses, irasciblenesses, lucrativenesses, mercenarinesses

      all perfectly acceptable English words. My throat is hurting hard of just looking at these words.[:^)]
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Fine-- I take your point, Aperisic.

For the sake of any readers who may have followed us this far, we should clarify that Eighth Happiness-- using the ordinal number-- is a totally different kettle of fish, and is not a part of our point of discussion, other than that some of those Chinese restaurants may have made the grammatical error of using the cardinal number instead of the ordinal.

The first, second, third..., and eighth happinesses are of course only one happiness apiece, and so Eighth Happiness is rightly singular.
Once again, I need to clarify and correct for the benefit of those readers who have been confused.
Three Happiness - irregular, though, used singular but with a number that requires the plural
This is not true; the formation is not 'irregular'; it is unacceptable and non-native. Cardinal numbers, if used, follow the noun (World War Two, Super Bowl 39). The noun must be preceded by an ordinal: the third happiness. The name of the movie is simply a misprint, a mistake in translation, or faulty English.
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Yes, I agree, I'll punish myself with not participating to any forum again.
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