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In a comment I said:

Yeah, I was looking for this (about "you just wait and see!"); I hear it a lot while watching cartoons with the kids!

I wasn't confident of (on?) which one sounds natural, until checking with Google ngram (watching cartoon,watching cartoons,cartoon,cartoons). Am I right in choosing "Watching Cartoons" which shows up 20 times as much compared to "watching cartoon"?

By the way, in the context above, is it confident of or on. With Google ngram, on is barely noticeable, and of is almost all there is.

Note: You may want to take out cartoon and cartoons for the other curves to be clearly visible.

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    I looked into some examples the Google Ngram gave, and found that all the "watching cartoon" results I checked out are not a valid "watching cartoon". For example, ""All your little friends were watching cartoon shows ...", "... watching cartoon turtles on TV doing ...", "... that children watching cartoon shows for a four-hour period ...". This confirmed my thought that "watching cartoon" is not a valid usage, because "cartoon" is countable (watching a cartoon or watching cartoons, but not watching cartoon), and "watch cartoon" hasn't become a phrase as "declare war" did, yet. – Damkerng T. Jan 15 '14 at 10:02
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    By the way, I think it's more likely to say be confident about (some idea) or be confident in (someone); be confident of is also possible, be confident on is less likely. – Damkerng T. Jan 15 '14 at 10:14
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    I thought of "about", but because I couldn't find an example to confirm, I avoided using it and wrote "of" instead. Either I would be crazy or I'll reach a near native speaker like level if I continue this crazy trend! ... Yeah, likewise with "I believe tag"! – learner Jan 15 '14 at 10:30
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    @learner I suggest you ask the preposition question separately. One question per question, please. – snailplane Jan 15 '14 at 11:38
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    @learner: Take note of snailpoint's comment. In your context, I think confident about is more appropriate (because there are multiple options you can't confidently choose between). If you had committed to a particular one, you might be more likely to say you were confident of or with that choice. There are several possible prepositions after confident - some make a difference, some are arbitrary stylistic choices. Too much to cover in a comment, even if I knew it all (which I don't, anyway! :) – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Jan 17 '14 at 6:05
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I think your usage, "I hear it a lot while watching cartoons ...", is correct. The word cartoon is a countable noun. A singular countable noun will need an article (i.e. a cartoon or the cartoon) or a determiner (e.g. that cartoon). Thus, we can say watching a cartoon or watching cartoons, but not *watching cartoon.

However, your observation made me wonder if "watch cartoon" had become a phrase (as "declare war" did) already.

So I looked into some of the examples returned by Google Ngram, and found that all the "watching cartoon" results (as far as I reviewed) are not a complete verb-ing+noun phrase. For example, All your little friends were watching cartoon shows ..., ... watching cartoon turtles on TV doing ..., ... that children watching cartoon shows for a four-hour period .... In all results, cartoon was used as an adjective.

With that, I think I can conclude that saying *watching cartoon is incorrect.

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    As a native speaker, I don't have to research or "conclude" on this one! But of course you're quite right. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Jan 17 '14 at 5:50
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    That's why second language learners do research when they come across a problem, but they can imitate first language "learners" by "researching all the time" before the problems come up; =imitate how children learn. – learner Jan 17 '14 at 8:35

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