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I'm writing an academic paper on the topic of substance use relapse. I am wondering when it is appropriate to use 'relapse' without a preposition when used as a noun in a singular form. Two examples below:

"There are four main ideas in relapse prevention. First, relapse is a gradual process with distinct stages. ... Fourth, most relapses can be explained in terms of a few basic rules." (source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4553654/)

" The lure of such social acclaim helps some avoid relapse." — Maia Szalavitz, Time, 29 Sep. 2021

In the two examples above, when wouldn't the highlighted 'relapse' be 'relapses' or 'a relapse'? Is it because, when used alone, 'relapse' is a concept, not a specific occurrence?

Thank you.

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  • try it with a word like fever. You can say "Fever is an elevated body temperature" and "some fevers can be reduced with medication." The first is the general concept, the second refers to instances of it happening to someone. Nov 19 '21 at 19:52
  • @KateGregory Thank you so much. That makes a lot sense. Replacing it with fever somehow made it more intuitive.
    – oustella
    Nov 20 '21 at 3:32

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