These procedures may be based on objective, scientific evidence or on a more subjective, aesthetic judgment.

Here, “judgment” is countable, but “evidence” is not. For native speakers this might be intuitive, but for me it just doesn’t make sense. Why should evidence and judgment be treated differently?

  • 1
    I can't offer a native speaker's reply and I might be wrong but this strikes me as one of those things where the answer is "because that's the way a certain language (in this case English) works". Simply you have to look it up - evidence is uncountable and judgement meaning opinion can be countable and uncountable. I'm referring to the logic behind a noun being countable or uncountable in general (information is countable in some languages, but in English informations is a mistake)
    – Lucky
    Jun 1, 2015 at 18:00
  • [continued] If you are asking why the author opted for countable judgement that may be subject to interpretation - it might be idiomatic, or there might be a nuance in meaning - they are not referring to judgement in general (it's a matter of judgement), but state that there may be several different opinions, and the procedure is based on some (or one) of those.
    – Lucky
    Jun 1, 2015 at 18:07
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    I think @Lucky is correct at the end - using 'a judgement' emphasizes the subjectivity of the judgement by subtly pointing out that it's just one out of many possible. This contrasts with a decision based on objective evidence, which should be universal. Jun 1, 2015 at 18:13

2 Answers 2


First of all, “judgment” doesn’t have to be countable. “Based on objective evidence or subjective judgement” would sound perfectly fine to me.

I suspect that if there is any meaning behind choosing different forms for “evidence” and “judgement”, it has to do with the nature of where these phenomena tend to occur.

In the case of evidence, it is thought of as existing in the world. It is waiting for someone to observe it.

A judgement, on the other hand, is individually held. A person makes a judgement upon observation.


Scientific evidence here is considered uncountable. It is said it is because it cannot be "sliced up." Or that if you slice (cut in two) "scientific evidence" you still have a whole, not pieces. And yet this conception can change from usage to usage, and also over time.

Evidence has not always been uncountable, and some people still use it as a countable noun. And there is no Ruling Board of English that can legitimately insist they do not. In other words, if someone wants to use evidences as a countable noun, they are free to so. In this case, they are conceiving "evidence" as something that can be sliced in half and you get "countable" pieces of it.

Conceptions and uses wax and wane over the years. Proof can be countable or uncountable. As well, judgement can be countable or uncountable.

Gold is generally assumed to be uncountable, but it can be used as a countable noun. In a game, for instance, someone can ask How many golds do you have? Or How many coppers do you have? Someone may argue that this is just shorthand for units of gold, but I would not agree. It is actually using gold and copper as count nouns. This is solely based on the speaker's conception of the noun.

Coffee is often said to be uncountable, yet we can say How many coffees have you had today? We can also say The coffee of such-and-such a place is a coffee like none other. In one sense, we conceive coffee as uncountable, in another sense we conceive of it as countable.

In one sense, it is all in the mind. And it depends on whether we can slice the concept into countable pieces or not. And this differs over time and usage--and among languages. Language and language usage is always changing. Xerox is the name of a company, but it is also a countable noun. In fact, that dictionary entry says it is both countable and uncountable.

Here is another example: money. I just wrote that it is uncountable. But actually, it can be conceived as either countable or uncountable.

Last (for now), these same nouns can differ in other, related languages.

Information is classified as uncountable in English (I would not say: an information); it is countable in Italian (and the equivalent to an information [un'informazione]) is natural). When I encounter that, I experience something similar to the "it just doesn’t make sense" that you experience. I just have to put it into my mind that in one language it is not countable and in another language it is not.

Someday perhaps software will be countable in English; for many speakers, it already is.

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