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I would like to describe someone's experience as diverse. I am not sure if diverse can be used to describe someone who has had many work and education experiences in different fields. I was thinking diverse, meaning showing a great deal of variety. But it appears from dictionary definitions and examples that diverse is only used to describe a group or groups of people as different from each other or data being different.

So can I say

He has a diverse experience (or diverse experiences?).

He has a diverse professional experience (or diverse professional experiences?).

What words would fit in this context?

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You could also predicate diversity of his experience:

His work experience is diverse.

rather than using diverse as an adjective attributively:

He has diverse experience.

The difference is stylistic. Both are grammatical. Personally, I find a diverse experience somewhat clunky, whereas a diverse student body is fine.

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"Diverse" essentially means, "having a wide variety", so it's fine to use to describe someone's experiences:

Her travel experiences have been diverse, ranging from simple sightseeing in Paris, to traversing the Klondike on a bobsled, to submersible diving into the Marianas Trench.

I would personally adjust this to say someone has a "diverse range of experiences", but that might just be my style.

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"He has diverse experience." sounds fine to me, and searching the internet on the phrase "diverse experience" seems to produce many relevant instances of that wording.

Please note, though, your examples aren't quite idiomatic. "Experience", when you are talking about work experience or mastery of a profession, is not plural. "Experiences" would be individual events that you had experienced in your life. And "professional experiences" (plural) would sound like you were referring to incidents that you had experienced while at work.

Also "experience" (meaning work experience) will not take an indefinite article.

So your examples should be:

He has diverse experience.

He has diverse professional experience.

  • Not sure why someone gave you a downvote there. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Dec 15 '18 at 15:53
  • @Tᴚoɯɐuo All four answers so far are helpful. I have upvoted all the answers. Now it is the hard part. I don't know which one to accept. Each one teaches me something new. – Eddie Kal Dec 15 '18 at 17:26
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You said:

But it appears from dictionary definitions and examples that diverse is only used to describe a group or groups of people as different from each other or data being different.

That's not an accurate interpretation of the word (or its definition).


From Merriam-Webster's definition of diverse:

1 : differing from one another : UNLIKE
// people with diverse interests
2 : composed of distinct or unlike elements or qualities
// a diverse population

Diverse is an adjective and it's used to describe any number of things that are different from each other. It can be people or data, but it can be many other things too.

As in the definition of its first sense, you can have diverse interests (as it's used in the dictionary's example sentence), diverse food, diverse schools. Or, as in your case, diverse experiences.


If you use the singular, it needs to be something that contains other things. (In the dictionary definition, a diverse population contains many different people.)

So, you can't say that you have a diverse experience because that's a single thing that doesn't contain anything else.

But you can say that you have diverse experiences because each experience is different from the others.

So, either of these is fine:

You have diverse experiences.
You have a diverse professional history.

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