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Why can't I say, "I have a brown hair," to describe the colour of my hair?

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My Czech friend always says "hairs". It's never plural. –  JoJo Mar 31 '11 at 6:29
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up vote 10 down vote accepted

When describing the hair on one's head, the noun hair takes on a collective sense, i.e. hair is treated as uncountable. Thus, the correct way to describe your hair (presumably that on your head) color is:

I have brown hair.

However, hair is also a countable noun, e.g. "Who knows the number of hairs on their head?" Hence,

I have a brown hair

is also perfectly valid, but it would usually imply that that particular brown hair is special—perhaps one in a billion black hairs, or something of the sort.

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thanks - how do I accept that answer? I'm having problems registering. –  nicholas ainsworth Mar 30 '11 at 6:42
    
@nicholas: I believe there is a checkbox outline to the left of the answer. Clicking this should mark it as accepted. –  Jimi Oke Mar 30 '11 at 6:55
    
@Jimi Oke - the upward facing arrow? It asks me to register... –  nicholas ainsworth Mar 30 '11 at 6:58
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Yes! I've found it! Thanks - and sorry to everybody for appearing to be miserly...I'll try and use it as much as possible from now on. –  nicholas ainsworth Mar 30 '11 at 7:19
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@nicholas: Glad you've got it sorted now :) You might want to go through all your old questions (you can find them from your profile) and accept answers there too, where there's a good one - this will push up your "accept rate" and people will be more likely to answer your future questions :) –  psmears Mar 30 '11 at 9:27
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