Questions about uncountable (non-count, mass) nouns

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11
votes
6answers
2k views

“None” as plural indefinite pronoun

In my grammar book (English Grammar, HarperCollins Publishers), I read that none is occasionally treated as plural, but it is usually regarded as singular. Can you give me an example of sentence where ...
44
votes
7answers
2k views

Is “data” considered singular or plural?

Related to this question and this question. My non-native English speaking friend just asked me: Data is ... or Data are ... I said both but that's because I've been desensitized from ...
18
votes
5answers
39k views

Is “there're” (similar to “there's”) a correct contraction?

Q: "Do you have any juice?" A: "Yes, there's some in the fridge." Sounds perfectly fine to me, but: Q: "Do you have any towels?" A: "Yes, there's some in the closet." Does not. I asked ...
11
votes
6answers
3k views

Is the word “data” now considered singular, or still plural?

I know that the singular of data is datum. I know that data is a plural. However, common usage of the word "data" suggests it is used as a "collection of data". Here is [the collection of] data. ...
7
votes
2answers
577 views

Was the usage “Spaghetti were” ever acceptable or common?

In W. Somerset Maugham's The Moon and Sixpence, there is a line about Dirk Stroeve which goes His spaghetti were …. Spaghetti is plural in Italian, but is this ever a normal usage in English? ...
11
votes
3answers
504 views

Count vs. mass — where can you look this up?

Most dictionaries don't say whether a noun is count vs. mass. Short of asking a fluent English speaker, where can you get this kind of information? I've tried asking various other ESL/EFL people I ...
3
votes
3answers
638 views

“The (Cobra)” vs. “An (elephant)”, articles with nouns denoting a class

[ 1 ] tells on p.5 that "Singular nouns denoting a class" are preceded by the definite article "THE" (Example: "The Cobra is dangerous"), while on page 7 (Table 6. THE INDEFINITE ARTICLE) it tells ...
11
votes
5answers
723 views

What does Maugham mean by “his spaghetti were”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Was the usage "Spaghetti were" ever acceptable or common? [Following up from, but not a duplicate of, this question by another user, which was unresolved…] ...
6
votes
5answers
428 views

Explanation for “emails”?

This is a thinly veiled rant, I realize, but if anybody can rationalize "emails" for me in such a way that I can stop grabbing people who say it, and asking them if they've ever gone to their mailsbox ...
4
votes
3answers
16k views

“Is there” versus “Are there”

Are there any questions I should be asking? Is there any articles available on the subject? My instinct is that in the two questions above, it should be 'are' as the subjects of the sentences ...
4
votes
3answers
1k views

'… the weather' vs. '… weather'

There are two correct (I hope so) sentences with weather taken from a book: Was the weather nice? Did you have nice weather? Can somebody explain why there's an article in the first ...
44
votes
5answers
4k views

Is “Just a friendly advice” grammatical?

I know that "advice" is uncountable and thus is incompatible with the article "a". However, the phrase "Just a friendly advice" seems to be rather widespread. Is it idiomatic, or incorrect? What is ...
28
votes
6answers
4k views

Is it wrong to use the word “codes” in a programming context?

Is it wrong to use the word "codes" in programming context? I shall use these codes.
12
votes
2answers
1k views

Usage of English definite article when referring to generic word

My mother language does not have articles, so I still struggle to choose when to use the indefinte and definite article. The other day, I learned: "The dog is an animal" is acceptable. "The iron is ...
10
votes
4answers
8k views

Is “stuff ” a plural word? [closed]

I'm wondering which one of these expressions is correct? This stuff or these stuff?
7
votes
1answer
422 views

Term for Uncountable Nouns, Mass Nouns which are sometimes countable

While I know how to use the words that I use, I do not know if there is a term to describe words that are uncountable nouns, but at the same time are countable in other circumstances. "Cheese" is one ...
7
votes
3answers
1k views

Are two or more clusters of ivy considered “ivy” or “ivies”?

When referring to two or more clusters of ivy, is it ivy, ivies, or something else entirely?
5
votes
1answer
4k views

Many more vs much more / many fewer vs much fewer

This year there were: many more people much more people Alternatively: many fewer people much fewer people Which is considered better English?
9
votes
4answers
760 views

Can I use the word “milks” when discussing KINDS of milk

Heard at the cafe: "We have three milks: soy, almond, and cow." Is it ok to use the word "milks" in this context? I've heard it in other uncountable nouns, like "essential oils", or "simple sugars", ...
5
votes
2answers
311 views

“I played two music” vs. “I played two pieces of music”

I have a Canadian friend who sometimes helps me improve my English. A few days ago she sent me a list of some words (nouns) which the plural form is the same of the singular. One of these words was ...
3
votes
3answers
491 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 ...
1
vote
4answers
1k 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? P.S.: Sorry if this ...
0
votes
3answers
3k views

Why does “information” not have a plural form?

Why doesn't the word information take an "S" in English even if the meaning is "plural"?