incidence vs incidents vs instances :

incidence or incidents or instances

These three overlap in meaning just enough to confuse a lot of people. Few of us have a need for “incidence,” which most often refers to degree or extent of the occurrence of something: “The incidence of measles in Whitman County has dropped markedly since the vaccine has been provided free.” “Incidents,” which is pronounced identically, is merely the plural of “incident,” meaning “occurrences”: “Police reported damage to three different outhouses in separate incidents last Halloween”. Instances (not “incidences”) are examples: “Semicolons are not required in the first three instances given in your query.” Incidents can be used as instances only if someone is using them as examples.

Facebook Twitter Google +


  • n  the relative frequency of occurrence of something
  • n  the striking of a light beam on a surface
    he measured the angle of incidence of the reflected light
News & Articles

  • Quad-City metro area spared the worst of the storms
    The Quad-City metro area was spared some of the more severe storms that struck to the north and east, in some instances producing heavy rains, hail and even a couple of tornadoes.
    June 13, 2013 - Quad-City Times
  • Moving right along: Furyk leaves disappointments of 2012 season in the past
    One "expert" on the Golf Channel said he was three swings away from being the PGA Tour's Player of the Year.Instead, 2012 — in a handful of instances — became a season Jim Furyk couldn't wait to forget.It started last June at Olympic Club in San Francisco, where Furyk — tied for th...
    June 13, 2013 - Lancaster Online
  • Massachusetts Health Quality Partners Helps Physicians and Patients Talk About Health Care Decisions
    Massachusetts Health Quality Partners has been awarded a two-year grant from the ABIM Foundation to advance the organization’s Choosing Wisely® campaign. The goal of this effort is to encourage physicians and patients to discuss medical tests and procedures that may be unnecessary, and in some instances cause harm.
    June 12, 2013 - Business Wire via Yahoo! Finance