Questions about uncountable (non-count, mass) nouns

learn more… | top users | synonyms (1)

4
votes
3answers
116 views

Polish (the substance, not the language)

I'm talking about the stuff you use when you're polishing. According to etymonline.com, this usage has been around for less than 200 years: polish (n.) 1590s, "absence of coarseness," from ...
4
votes
1answer
209 views

Is it correct to use infrastructure as a countable noun in this context?

My understanding of the word "infrastructure" is that it is uncountable. However, upon looking it up in Oxford Learner's Dictionary, I found that it is classified as "countable, uncountable." ...
4
votes
1answer
331 views

When do nouns convert between mass and count?

I confess to having the pedantic hangup of refusing to use email as a count noun, but it's a lost cause. Over the past week I've been working on a modeling and simulation proposal, and I've noticed ...
3
votes
4answers
1k views

Why is liquid a countable noun?

I read this sentence in a description to a podcast from https://www.eslpod.com/website/index_new.html Batter, “batter,” when we talk about cooking is a liquid, made usually with eggs, and ...
3
votes
6answers
186 views

Why is “collect a coin” ungrammatical?

I'm on the topic of countability and an example in my book says that "collect a coin" is ungrammatical, and that you say "collect coins" instead. But why? Is it because "collecting" is not appropriate ...
3
votes
3answers
889 views

Plurality of data [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is “data” considered singular or plural? Milton Friedman, the Nobel-prize winning economist used to threaten that he would "take away any graduate student's ...
3
votes
6answers
30k views

“Advice” vs. “an advice”

I have often heard that advice is uncountable and shouldn't be prefixed with an article. So I often force myself to say "a piece of advice". But I've seen it used with an article on a number of ...
3
votes
3answers
121 views

“Three pieces of email” alternately to “three emails” in AE?

Does American English allow the use of "email" as a mass noun, in such a way that it is not uncommon to hear any such of the following phrases from native speakers? I've still got a huge backload of ...
3
votes
3answers
14k views

With “amount” will you use singular or plural?

I am confused about this grammatical question: large amount of data and the fact that it will exponentially grow large amount of data and the fact that they will exponentially grow (the semantic ...
3
votes
2answers
61 views

Contrasting emphasis of an uncountable noun

In this translated sentence, water is supposed to be emphasized in contradistinction to the sand in an hourglass/sand clock: Like an hourglass, the device is made of glass and metal, except that ...
3
votes
2answers
6k views

“It is bad practice …” vs. “It is a bad practice …”

"At work, it is bad practice to go to lunch early." "At work, it is a bad practice to go to lunch early." The noun "practice" is both countable and uncountable. So, could both sentences be ...
3
votes
1answer
277 views

Abstract nouns: countable and uncountable

What is the element that causes many abstract nouns to be both countable and uncountable (not with different meanings)? To illustrate the point, a word like taste as a noun when it means "the ...
3
votes
1answer
225 views

Can 'surgery' be a count noun in the sense of 'medical procedure'?

This is something that has bothered me for a long time. Several years ago a remember noticing in the media a shift from using "An operation" to "A surgery" when talking about someone who was ...
3
votes
2answers
211 views

Question about “criticism” and “critique”

Are criticism and critique mass nouns? If not, what semantic area does their countable usage refer to?
2
votes
4answers
5k views

The article “a/an” with uncountable nouns

Sometimes I read in books sentences where uncountable nouns are used with the article "a/an". For example She fades like a dew before the sun. Is it out of the common rules? Sorry if this ...
2
votes
3answers
2k views

“The” and superlative of uncountable noun — “the clearest water”?

Uncountable nouns are usually used without an article. Superlatives require definite article. What comes out of these 2 rules when superlative meets uncountable article? We need an example, I hope it ...
2
votes
3answers
2k views

Better wording for “Among other [stuff]”

I have the following problem. I need to say Among other information, [the message] will contain information about the following... I don't like the repetition of "information" here. I thought ...
2
votes
2answers
809 views

When can you pluralize uncountable nouns?

I have a two part question, the second depending on the answer of the first. I don't know if that is frowned upon, but I'm not sure how else to ask. Foil is an uncountable noun so it is not ...
2
votes
1answer
102 views

When can uncountable nouns be countable?

I have a question about uncountable nouns that are used as countable in certain situations. When it comes to some uncountable nouns such as fruit, cake, coffee etc., I have found out that they can ...
2
votes
2answers
109 views

Discrete units of continuous quantity

Is it proper to speak of units of a continuous quantity as if they are discrete or continuous? For example, I never know whether I should say that some food has "less calories" than another food ...
2
votes
5answers
909 views

Is “education” a count noun?

I'm getting confused about these two sentences: The government should provide education to its citizens. She has received a great education since high school. I think education is an ...
2
votes
9answers
3k views

Use of the word “beeves”

In what sentence would you need to use the plural of beef? The plural is beeves. Plural form of beef (sense 1 of the noun). [OD] I have tried every sentence that it could be necessary but I ...
2
votes
2answers
893 views

Does the sentence “I recycle a paper” make sense?

Could the following sentence make sense? I recycle a paper. It's from one of the school English exam's answers, and we're arguing about giving the whole point or half point. The teachers have ...
2
votes
1answer
17k views

Can the word “personnel” ever be singular? [closed]

Can personnel be used in reference to a single person? See the example below: Testing must take place by a qualified personnel other than the requestor.
2
votes
1answer
122 views

“rising sea level” or “rising sea levels”?

I've seen both in newspapers when it comes to the subject of global warming. Confusingly, "rising sea levels" seems to be used more frequently. For me, it's much easier to understand "rising sea ...
2
votes
1answer
5k views

One type of good - singular or plural

I've read conflicting advice on the use of the word "goods" in an economic context (e.g. "goods for sale"). One piece of advice is that it is a plural noun that should never be used singular (e.g. ...
2
votes
1answer
325 views

Can I use “any” with singular noun in formal English?

As far I as I remember, "any" and "some" are used with plural nouns or uncountable ones. I know about exceptions for "some" (Wow, some car). But can I say the following and be grammatical: Is ...
2
votes
0answers
33 views

Less versus fewer in time related phrases [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “Less” vs. “fewer” I am quite pedantic when using 'less' versus 'fewer' but don't really understand how the situation works when it comes to ...
2
votes
2answers
828 views

Confusing sentence, work or works?

Please have a look at this sentence: "Multiple citations of my work during the short time since their publication indicate its quality." Here work is referring to many publications. I have a ...
2
votes
3answers
3k views

“Fewer resources” or “less resources”? [duplicate]

I was writing a document in Microsoft Word, and it flagged "less resources" as being ungrammatical and suggested "fewer resources". I did some research, and it appears that "fewer resources" seems to ...
1
vote
2answers
2k views

Are frozen pizzas countable or uncountable?

As you know pizzas are countable But when you add another word like, frozen, does it remain countable? Generally, when you add an adjective to a countable word are there any changes?
1
vote
3answers
558 views

What is the plural form of “whitespace”?

I ask this because Firefox suggested that whitespaces is not a valid word; rather it gave me whitespace or white spaces.
1
vote
2answers
2k views

Does “every time” not mean “all the time”?

In this article, Singapore Plans To Become The World's First Smart Nation, there is an explanation about the E3A plan by Leonard: We're working on something that we've named E3A, which is our way ...
1
vote
5answers
444 views

What is the logic behind uncountable nouns?

I'd like to understand the logic behind uncountable nouns, such as "water", "meat" and others, specially "bread", for example. I don't understand why can't we count them, since there are different ...
1
vote
3answers
244 views

Usage of uncountable nouns [closed]

Which option is correct to use in this sentence and why? I have (much, many, an) orange juice.
1
vote
3answers
1k views

coffee vs. some coffee

I want coffee. vs. I want some coffee. Does these two sentences completely identical? In general, is it possible to delete the word "some" from every instance of "some coffee", and to keep ...
1
vote
2answers
2k views

Verb agreement of “heaps”/“lots”: uncountable nouns

I am a non-native English speaker and I recently started noticing that most people do not do the correct agreement of the verb with the noun when saying "there is"/"there was"/"here is". They say, for ...
1
vote
2answers
54 views

“Singular” vs “Uncountable” nouns

Today, searching for the term "cloak", I came across these definitions From Longman DOCE 5th Ed. cloak noun [singular] an organization, activity, or way of behaving that deliberately protects ...
1
vote
2answers
153 views

Is “the” needed with the word “code” used in a general programming sense?

Basically, me and my colleagues (not native English speakers) had a discussion on whether we need "the" or not in this sentence: Administrative / system passwords shouldn't be used in the code. ...
1
vote
4answers
382 views

Pronoun for meat: it or some?

I feel the following sentence does not sound usual: I like meat. Can I eat it tonight? I think it is more common to say: I like meat. Can I eat some tonight? Is my understanding correct? ...
1
vote
3answers
686 views

Should I say “study materials” or “education materials” or “teaching material?”

I am building a web application where people can upload their study materials about robotics and programming and manage them and share etc. I want to name it well, so at the moment I have: ...
1
vote
3answers
77 views

Does stuff become countable when enumerated?

Consider a conversation with a sentence: S: "I bought milk and honey." What is a grammatically correct question referring to the sentence S? Q1: "Where did you put it?" or Q2: "Where did you put ...
1
vote
1answer
1k views

“Seems like an overkill” vs. “seems like overkill” [closed]

I’m wondering if an article is used with the word overkill: Something seems like an overkill (to me). Something seems like overkill (to me). Which is grammatical?
1
vote
2answers
3k views

Definite article in the beginning of a sentence

I'm confused with the usage of the definite article. During the development the following tasks were accomplished: Software with a graphical interface was created; [some other things] ...
1
vote
1answer
62 views

Using “some” to describe units of time

"some minutes, some years, some seconds" are grammatically incorrect. But "a few minutes, a few years, a few seconds" works. I'm trying to teach a non-native speaker this nuance but "it just sounds ...
1
vote
2answers
105 views

Is “myriad” not prevalent in “day to day speech”? [duplicate]

I have noticed people using "myriad" when they mean "uncountable" or simply many. Is "Myriad" not prevalent in "day to day speech Can it be used for definite but large amount of anything.
1
vote
2answers
116 views

Does this statement tell how much work was done? [closed]

On a physics test the instructor asked the following question: If you do work on an object in twice the usual time, your power output is? I said that you could not answer the question because I ...
1
vote
2answers
266 views

Is 'experience' countable or uncountable? [closed]

"Seeing the Grand Canyon was certainly____(an /some) experience." Is experience countable or uncountable? Should I use some or an?
1
vote
2answers
7k views

Could you lend me any/a little/../money?

I would like to know how to say that correctly and whether some/any could stand as a subject in the sentence: Could you lend me ... money? Sure, If I find some/any.
1
vote
1answer
87 views

much natural or more natural?

so I've heard the expression "it sounds more natural" in many English podcasts but as everyone knows "natural" is an uncountable adjective, therefore "much" should be preceded before the adjective. I ...