Which of the following is correct:


Joes’s performance on tasks that assessed his writing skills was variable.


Joes’s performances on tasks that assessed his writing skills were variable.


plural asked May 14 '13 at 23:27 James New member

2 answers


Grammartically both sentences are correct but what the writer (or speaker) intends to say is different. In the first sentence Joes performed simply by one way, while in the second sentence he performed numerously on tasks.

link comment answered May 15 '13 at 01:59 T Uchimura New member

I strongly disagree with Uchimura-san's answer.  When talking about performance in an academic or an employment situation, the noun performance is always uncountable.  So the first sentence -- Joes’s performance on tasks that assessed his writing skills was variable -- is correct.  It could, however, be revised to be more concise, and I would like to get ride of the ugly adjective variable in favor of the much pleasanter-sounding adjective unevenJoe's performance on his writing skill assessments was uneven.

link edited May 15 '13 at 03:42 Shawn Mooney Expert

Thanks for your comment Shawn, I'm happy to be called with "-san" title. (: Regarding the plurality of "performance," I agree with you. I was confused with theatrical performances which can be countable. When "performance" is used in a context as a meaning of conduct/behavior, it must be written without s... ugh, I should've known better! Also I like your revised sentence. Variable sounds as if his performance was "able to change".

T UchimuraMay 15 '13 at 15:35

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