3

SPSS 20, Eviews 7, and Minitab 16 software were used for analyzing results obtained for the study.

Or

Software of SPSS 20, Eviews 7, and Minitab 16 were used for analyzing results obtained for the study.

How should I bring a general term e.g. software with a specific term e.g. SPSS in a sentence. And how would the arrangement be if there's more than one specific word, e.g. SPSS, Eviews, and Minitab?

This question might be generalized to States of California, Pennsylvania, and Michigan or California, Pennsylvania, and Michigan states. Also names of seas, rivers, lakes, etc. What is the general rule when bringing a specific instance along with a general term in terms of precedence?

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    Note that software is usually uncountable. You could phrase it as SPSS 20, Eviews 7, and Minitab 16 were the software packages used ... – Damkerng T. May 12 '15 at 22:03
  • Philadelphia is NOT a state! Did you mean Pennsylvania? – Brian Hitchcock May 13 '15 at 7:38
  • @BrianHitchcock. I have to say yes. Sorry about the slip. To correct it, Pennsylvania is a state and Philadelphia is a city therein :) – codezombie May 13 '15 at 13:17
  • It might be a good idea to edit your question accordingly. – Brian Hitchcock May 14 '15 at 10:36
4

I think you can put the general term before or after the list, but the article and preposition usage will vary depending on the terms.

SPSS 20, Eviews 7, and Minitab 16 software were used for analyzing results obtained for the study.

This is fine, but the next ones needs an edit:

The software SPSS 20, Eviews 7, and Minitab 16 were used for analyzing results obtained for the study.

As for using with states:

The states of California, New Mexico and Texas are having a severe drought recently.

In the other form, you could say:

California, New Mexico and Texas are having a severe drought recently.

Since we put the state names first, using states is not needed unless someone didn't know they were states (such as writing for a foreign audience). Also we generally don't say California state, just California.

But in the case of a county, we (in western US anyway) do use County as part of the county name, so in that case:

Shasta, Tehama and Trinity counties have plenty of water.

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    Hmm. I don't think people would normally say, "California, New Mexico, and Texas states are ..." They might leave out the word "states", as you say, or they might say "The states of ..." – Jay May 12 '15 at 22:10
  • @Jay In that example you are correct most people would not use states in the second example. Maybe its not a great example. But it kind of depends on the context. If I said "Shasta, Tehama and Trinity (counties) have plenty of water." you would probably put in counties. I'll edit my answer a bit. – user3169 May 12 '15 at 22:25
  • Yes, better example. I think that works because we often refer to a county with the word "county", that is, someone might say, "I live in Fulton County". But people do not normally say, "I live in Texas state." The software example works the same way. You can say, "I use Microsoft software". In some cases a name can function as an adjective, in other cases, not so much. – Jay May 12 '15 at 22:56
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Unfortunately, it depends.

Usually we just use the specific words and not the general word, and rely on the reader to know the general category. Like, "Oranges and plums were used to make the pies." You would NOT say "The fruits oranges and plums ..." nor "Orange and plum fruits ..." If you really felt it necessary to specify that these were kinds of fruit -- like, I suppose, if you were including some unusual fruit in the list that a reader might not be familiar with, you would need a longer sentence. For example, "The fruit used in the pies included oranges and plums."

Sometimes you can put the general word followed by the specifics. "The colors red and blue appeared on the flag." In other cases it works with "of", like "The states of Ohio and Michigan are ..."

But I'm hard-pressed to say what the general rule is. (This can be the curse of the native speaker trying to answer a grammar question: I KNOW that people say this and not that, but I'm not sure why. :-(

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    For using the general term after the list, I think it has to do with how we normally phrase some noun. For example, we would not normally say "apple fruit", just "apple". In the case of blue and red, blue and red are adjectives, so you have to say "The colors of blue and *red..." or "Red and blue colors...". – user3169 May 12 '15 at 22:39
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I have the same problem, but somehow I make sure that I mention the general term somewhere.

For example:

I think you should learn how to use PowerPoint, Excel, Visio, etc. This software is essential.

Or:

I think you should learn how to use some software like PowerPoint, Excel, Visio, etc.

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