"Subtle evidences are indications of the trend to suppress public display of Christianity in favor of other religions, paganism, or simply anti-Christian sentiment."
"The end of the twentieth century also brought evidences of decline, marked by ephemera, bombastic spectacle, revivals from better times, and periodic infusions of life from Europe and England."
So, maybe it is accepted in some dialects but not others?
Yeah possibly, from what I know it is a chiefly US term, even though in the UK and elsewhere it serves also as a plural.
^Here's an interesting link claiming that:
"In conclusion, evidence can certainly be argued to be an uncountable noun in Present-Day English, but this is a fairly recent development. In earlier stages of the language, this was not the case."
So it can be argued though that 'evidences' is not a correct modern English term.
Wiktionary opens its entry "evidence (usually uncountable)" and this is true for virtually all its examples. It has one 200 year-old example of "evidences", but I don't seem to be able to find yours.
At Oxford Dictionaries, they call it a "mass noun", that's to say, uncountable, and I'm afraid I don't see your second example there, either.
I have found it, however, in a 2001 history book published by Oxford, where the use of plural "evidences" (which I'd never come across before) appears to be a very specific academic use. A bit like "behaviour" and "behaviours" perhaps.
In normal usage, and in a court of law, for instance, "evidence" is uncountable, and so not used in the plural, as incidentally is "proof". In this context "I'd say either "Where is the proof?" or "Where is the evidence?", although in a court of law I think there's a difference between the two.
Evidence itself can be plural, depending on the context. Evidences is rarely used, possibly in technical writing. Language learning would be helpful if phrases and words in common usage are concentrated on. While that phrase may be acceptable in Polish, it is one of those not commonly used in English. However, I know it is a tricky thing to ask because the degree of fluency in both languages may vary and it may be difficult to figure out how to present the tests.
The problem is that we have to convey somehow, that the word „dowody” functions almost like a plurale tantum in Polish – if you will ask „Gdzie jest dowód”, almost everybody will understand it as „Where is your ID”, because almost always „dowód” is shorthand for „dowód osobisty”(lit. "personal evidence" or more to the point "personal identity proof") which is the name of polish ID card. Usually, 'evidence' in legal or similar context is simply „dowody”, the only exception I can think of, being maths.
Since Polish language doesn't have very obvious plural morphology like English, the best way to do it is to simply use plural in English, even if the resulting sentence is not that natural in English. ;)
I agree with your first part but not with your conclusions, I'm afraid. I don't think you teach that essential distinction between "dowód" and "dowody" by using a construction that hardly exists in English, and which will only confuse native speakers. Far better that we "are told like it is", and learn that dowód" is ID, and "dowody" is "evidence", plain and simple, even if it causes the poor moderators understandable headaches. And in any case this plural/singular difference already appears in quite a lot of places in this course,
Perhaps as an EFL teacher I'm biased, but I don't think there's ever any educational justification for using an unnatural (or in this case, plain wrong) expression in one language to demonstrate the meaning of the other. For example, even if "I think that yes" would be perfectly understandable to a native speaker, if rather strange, we'd never translate "Myślę, że tak" that way.
And even if native speakers don't get confused, what about those people doing the course in reverse? And in the case of this particular course, native English speakers seem at times to even be in the minority, amongst the commentators at least. I don't think it should be possible for any non native speaker to get the idea that "evidences" is in any way acceptable here. And remember that the majority of users don't look at the comments.
I doubt you'd tolerate any errors in the Polish sentences in the English from Polish course, used on the pretext of clarifying the English, and it should be the same here. So, sorry, but I beg to differ. In the nicest possible way, of course. :)
This discussion thread fascinates me. I see the complicating issue as - trying to translate one language into another literally - which in my experience just doesn't work for many reasons. I automatically translated the above to Where is the evidence? period. Just because in the Polish the plural is used, I knew by way of usage that it converts to singular or "uncountable" in English. Such is the nature of language.
Well, I'm afraid this is not a correct English sentence...
If you meant "Where are their proofs" (and I'm not even sure if 'proofs' is used in plural in English, than it's "Gdzie są ich dowody?". Also "Gdzie mają dowody" would make a lot of sense if you suggest that they don't have any.
the translation of this sentence should be "where are the evidences" since "dowody" is plural. "daj mi choć jeden dowód na to, że jesteś niewinny"-> "give me at least one evidence that you are innocent"; "dowody wskazują na to, że jest pan winny"-> "the evidences indicate that you are guilty"
I'm a native GB English speaker and concede that this is difficult. Generally evidence is treated as a body of information and therefore takes a singular verb. However, were it to be the case that rather different items were considered separately then evidences or proofs would be a possibility - though I would use neither myself. My advice to English learners is to stick with evidence and proof and regard plural forms as eccentricities.