1. How does brain atrophy lead to sleep impairment?

  2. How does brain atrophy lead to sleep impairments?

I am writing a medical paper. And this is a problem that has troubled me every times when it concerns the plural or singular forms of some relatively abstract words in my article.

The question is: since the noun "impairment" can be uncountable or countable, is to choose either is depended on the meaning I want to present in certain context?

  1. If I want to use it as a mass concept, then I should use (1).
  2. If I want to explain several sleep impairments following, then I should use (2).

1 Answer 1


I agree with your own suggestions.

If you choose the singular, you are referring to the general concept of sleep impairment.

If you choose the plural, you are alluding to the fact that there are multiple types of sleep impairment to which brain atrophy can lead.

In essence then you are giving a bit more information with the latter. If you are going to continue by discussing the various types of sleep impairment at some point, it would make sense to choose this option. If you have no intention of discussing these differences, the general concept should suffice.

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