We can benefit from experiences of other developers.

We can benefit from experiences of development.

Is the selected phrase idiomatic?

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    Isn't it the meaning of idiomatic? – Alexey Jan 16 '19 at 10:03
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    What do you think idiomatic means? According to its definition it means "using, containing, or denoting expressions that are natural to a native speaker." So what you are explaining about the phrase is that the phrase is idiomatic. – Alexey Jan 16 '19 at 10:55
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    While idiomatic can mean something peculiar to only a small group of people, that's not how it's normally used—unless you specifically qualify it with such a statement. In general, idiomatic just means something that's used and understood. So, you're quite right that it's strange to think that a normal phrase would not be considered idiomatic in general. In that more normal sense, your sentences are idiomatic. The only thing I suggest is adding the before experiences and using the singular experience before development. – Jason Bassford Jan 16 '19 at 12:18
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    @SF It depends on context. It's certainly not an idiom, but it's idiomatic in the sense that it's language that people use. If you say that something is unidiomatic you mean that it's not used or understood by (most) people. Of course, you're free to interpret the word in the strict sense that you have, applying it to every context. – Jason Bassford Jan 16 '19 at 15:17
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    @SF. To echo what Jason has said, "This is a book" is not an idiom, but it is definitely idiomatic. – Tashus Jan 16 '19 at 15:54

In the context of knowledge and skills, we typically use "experience" as an uncountable noun. The best way to write your first sentence would be:

We can benefit from the experience of other developers.

When used as a countable noun, each experience refers to a specific occasion. One might say "I have had many good experiences with that business" to mean that their individual interactions with the business have been pleasant. Your second sentence could be understood with this second meaning, such that "experiences of development" means "occasions when you have experienced the development process". However, this is unusual, and the more idiomatic sentence would still use the uncountable form, as in:

We can benefit from the experience of development.

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    As you say, experience can be either countable or uncountable, depending on how it's interpreted. I personally think the first sentence sounds better with the individual (learning) experiences of other developers (as related to us). ("Talk to the other people hear. Learn from them.") But I'm just viewing it differently—and putting the sentence in the context of an employee at a company, not developers in general. – Jason Bassford Jan 16 '19 at 16:41
  • @JasonBassford Your interpretation isn't wrong, but it seems less natural to me. The source of the benefit is the fact that the other developers are experienced, which is to say they have experience, rather than the fact that they happen to have gone through some experiences. When you specify "learning experiences", it makes more sense, but otherwise I would expect "experience of developers" to refer to knowledge and skills. An interviewer would ask "what development experience do you have" rather than "what development experiences have you had", no? – Tashus Jan 16 '19 at 16:50

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