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General Writing and Grammar Help/usage of the word "confidences"

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Question
Dear Ted,
I know that you can say "someone betrayed your confidence", i.e. He betrayed my confidence. Can you also say "someone betrayed your confidences"? I'm not sure if you can use the word in the plural form. In other words, are the following sentences grammatically correct?
1. I betrayed her confidences.
2. He betrayed my confidences.
3. If you betray my confidences, I'll kill you.

Answer
Dear Glen:

I know that you can say "someone betrayed your confidence", i.e. He betrayed my
confidence. Can you also say "someone betrayed your confidences"? I'm not sure
if you can use the word in the plural form. In other words, are the following
sentences grammatically correct?
1. I betrayed her confidences.
2. He betrayed my confidences.
3. If you betray my confidences, I'll kill you.

*** Glen, although "confidences" is a good plural word, the singular form is almost always used.  Think of it this way:  After you have known a person for some time, you may develop a feeling of TRUST.  The word "trust" is singular, but the feelings involved are very much plural.  

***Like "trust," "confidence" can cover many things.  I believe that all three of your sentence examples should have the plural form, "confidence."  If you want to use a plural word, use "secrets."  

NOTE:  There is something wrong with this computer.  After "secrets" I tried to type a period, and it kept coming up as a colon.

EXAMPLE:  I told Mary several of my SECRETS, and I did it with complete confidence.

Ted

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Ted Nesbitt

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I am the bibliographic instruction and reference librarian at a public college. Some members of the English department recommend me to their students. I offer assistance in grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and paragraph development. My master`s thesis concerns William Faulkner`s tragic novels. I formerly taught advanced placement English at two schools in the Philadelphia area.

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I have been one of the highest-ranked volunteers in this category for more than a decade.

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B. A. and M. A in English; MSIS in Library & Information Sciences; graduate study in philosophy

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