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  1. Often, they can’t precisely see what to do with the data to get a return on investment.
  2. Often they can’t precisely see what to do with the data to get returns on investment.

I have thought an investment could yield many returns, but the original text use singular form.

Another question, should we say "a return on the investment" or "a return on investment"

The full context:

The threshold for companies to participate in an SDIL project is low. “If a company says it can provide the raw data and has a real scenario, their application will be decided within ten days,” he says. “Often they can’t precisely see what to do with the data to get a return on investment, but SDIL will make it clear whether there is a return on investment or not.”

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As you can see from this following link (ROI1) both 'return on investment' and 'returns on investment' have been in use for several decades, but 'return on investment' has always been the preferred alternative.

As you can see from this following link (ROI2) both 'a return on investment' and 'a return on the investment' have been in use for several decades, but 'a return on investment' is currently the preferred alternative.

  • So they are interchangable in all scenarios? – Mike Philip Aug 24 '18 at 16:13
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    @Mike Philip It would be better to say that they can be interchanged than that they are interchangeable, as this implies both are equally acceptable. I fully endorse J.R.'s comment that 'return on investment' is the standard phrase used in business. Unless you have a good reason not to abide by that standard, I would stick to it. – James Aug 24 '18 at 16:35

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