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A process is a series of actions, so I think ... mental works require iterative process ..., but I see a sentence ... mental works require iterative processes .... Which is right, or better?

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  • It depends on whether you are referring to one overall process (all actions taken together) or a series of individual process steps. Not knowing what "mental works" are, it could be read "an iterative process" or "iterative processes". Also it would be more likely to use "mental work".
    – user3169
    Commented Jul 17, 2016 at 18:03
  • "Works" isn't used much in AmE, and I believe in BrE it refers to a place where work is being done, not to the work itself.
    – The Photon
    Commented Jul 18, 2016 at 3:27
  • Depends on the scientific area. If you are referring to the "process" in computer enginering. In computer science, "a process is an instance of a computer program that is being executed." So you can actually use it plural w/o it sounding weird.
    – burcu
    Commented Jul 18, 2016 at 7:42

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It depends on the nature of the iteration. If mental works require a single process that iterates, you could say:

... mental works require an iterative process ...

On the other hand, if mental works require separate distinct processes which are iterative, you would use:

... mental works require iterative processes ...

Honestly, the distinction seems a bit like splitting hairs to me without more context. The distinction between these two, to me, is so small as to likely not be terribly important -- but that's because we don't have more information on these mental works.

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