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I wrote:

In recent years,some/several powerful dependency parsers, such as MaltParser, have been introduced which can be used for different languages.

What if I write it as:

In recent years, powerful dependency parsers, such as MaltParser, have been introduced which can be used for different languages.

In the second sentence, I think I used a generic noun; however, I am not sure when I am speaking about some specific parsers, developed in recent years, I can still use a generic noun here. right? To me "powerful dependency parsers" means a term in general and not some specific parsers developed recently.

In other words, should I use the article "some" or not? what is the difference with and without "some"?

  • I know just from the topic of the questions which are yours now! :P – James Webster Oct 21 '15 at 15:01
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I suspect you were actually asking: "Can I use the zero article here?"

Yes. You can use the zero article with a plural generic noun.

Why? to me "powerful dependency parsers" means a term in general not specific developed parsers.

Exactly that.

"Powerful dependency parsers" means any parsers in general, (which also happen to be powerful, but this is incidental). Because it's general, you use the generic noun. Generic nouns don't need to use an article.

Even though you've added adjectives to narrow your selection from "all parsers" to "parsers which are powerful and for parsing dependencies", you're still talking in general about that subset.

"Some/several" does the same thing, it narrows the selection, but your selection is still general.

Cats like to sit in boxes.

Some cats like to sit in boxes.

The cat is a common house pet.

The big cats include among others, lions, panthers and tigers.

Cat(s) in all of these cases are generic nouns, even the one where we have an article!


To answer the titular question:

When to use generic plural nouns?

You've used a generic noun in both options. You use generic nouns, when you're talking about [noun] in general!

From this site:

[Generic nouns] are different from definite nouns (e.g. the book) and indefinite nouns (e.g. a book) in that the sentence they’re must be a blanket statement or question.

An example of using books as generic noun:

Books are available for people of all ages.

  • In the first example I used the article "some" (or several) and my question is if I should use "some" or not? – Ahmad Oct 21 '15 at 15:30
  • I changed the title to be specific about the sentence – Ahmad Oct 21 '15 at 15:34
  • my question is if I should use "some" or not? The second part of my question answers this, but I'll move it to the top – James Webster Oct 21 '15 at 15:37
  • Thanks, but I don't look for a "yes" or "not", I ask why? to me "powerful dependency parsers" means a term in general not some specific developed parsers. if you note I use "some" – Ahmad Oct 21 '15 at 15:42
  • Sorry, but I didn't convince, I know I don't need article for a generic noun, my question is whether this case is generic or not?, please note I say "In recent years, powerful dependency parsers" then I am speaking about specific parsers not a general term, right? for example it differs from a sentence like "dependency parsers are used to parse sentences" which is obviously a general term. – Ahmad Oct 21 '15 at 15:55

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