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Language tip of the week: behaviour

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In this weekly post, we bring more useful content from the Macmillan Dictionary to English language learners. These tips are based on areas of English (e.g. spelling, grammar, collocation, synonyms, etc) which learners often find difficult. Here is some advice about using the noun behaviour:

Behaviour is usually an uncountable noun, so it is rarely used in the plural:

✗ Parents should be able to prevent their children’s crimes or bad behaviours.
✓ Parents should be able to prevent their children’s crimes or bad behaviour.
✗ The media often encourage violence and aggressive behaviours.
✓ The media often encourage violence and aggressive behaviour.

The plural form ‘behaviours’ is a specialized term used in fields such as psychology, social science, and education. This use is much less common than the uncountable use:

In this chapter, we discuss strategies for dealing with the problem behaviours of young children.

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Liz Potter

2 Comments

  • This blog is wonderful; it is a great tool to have and I’ll always use it for more improvements of writing skills, grammar etc. I’d like to extend my warm thanks to the macmillan publishers for providing this service.

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