"Sometimes astronomers find thing they ..." or "Sometimes astronomers find things they ..."

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I read the following in science magazine:

Sometimes astronomers find thing they weren't even looking for. Here's eight of the best ...

Why didn't they use "things"?

Sometimes astronomers find things they weren't even looking for. Here's eight of the best ...

Shannak

Posted 2017-02-12T08:50:49.183

Reputation: 4 372

2a typo, probably – CowperKettle – 2017-02-12T09:18:04.397

2@CowperKettle is correct; the example you provided should use "find things" or possibly "find something" rather than "find thing". – Mark Ripley – 2017-02-12T10:42:21.333

Answers

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As noted in the comments, this is probably a typo in the magazine.

The word "thing" is usually a countable noun, and so would need an article if it were used in the singular "...find a thing...". In the plural, no article is used "...find things...", and given the context, it seems that a plural was probably intended. The context is the adverb "sometimes" which suggests multiple occasions, and the fact that 8 examples follow.

The phrase itself seems to come from this twitter post. When the same link was first posted on facebook the language was correct.

James K

Posted 2017-02-12T08:50:49.183

Reputation: 80 781