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128

If you use an article with advice you have to use a counter: A friendly piece of advice. A friendly bit of advice. No one who is competent in English would say A friendly advice. [Wrong!] To omit the article, competent speakers would say Some friendly advice.


62

I have actually considered this quite a bit, being both a linguist who studies these things, and a scholar who publishes papers. Etymologically speaking, the word data is the plural of datum in Latin. In Latin, data would get plural verb agreement. Now, languages borrow words and do whatever they want with them, so this historical fact about data has no ...


59

As a programmer, I cringe when hearing this! In computer science, "code" is used as a mass noun, specifying the collection of instructions in a specific arrangement as a whole and in no specific quantity. Whether it's one line of code or ten pages, it is still referred to as code, not codes. When "codes" is used in computer science, it typically refers to ...


53

Dear reader: I'm going to offer you a little friendly advice. When checking to see if something is "grammatical," do not rely on a Google search. Google will return hits from blogs and message boards, which are not necessarily reliable sources for determining correct English. Google will also return other odd nuggets, such as a fraction of a user's handle. ...


27

On the topic of a friendly advice having 1,070,000 hits - some friendly advice gets 137,000,000 hits. In other words, the 1,070,000 million, despite the impresive number of digits, is a fraction of 1% of the total and therefore 1,070,000 mistakes. Ngram confirms this. Advice is uncountable, so it should be be "some friendly advice", which is reflected in ...


26

Yes, it is wrong to use the word "codes" in the programming world if source code is implied: Noun source code (uncountable) (computing, uncountable) Human-readable instructions in a programming language, to be transformed into machine instructions by a compiler, interpreter, assembler or other such system. Uncountable noun (my ...


21

Ivy is similar to grass (and water). There is technically a plural, but in practice it is almost always treated as a quantity noun (a word that is inherently plural). This is because it grows together in big intertwined clumps, so it is nearly impossible without manually uprooting to tell it which ivy leaves belong to different plants and which to the same ...


19

In Britain, a loaf of bread would generally be anything big enough to be cut into multiple slices of bread, e.g. for making sandwiches. So this is a loaf, and at least the one on the left of this picture is a loaf. The items in the second picture that are small enough to be just 1 - 2 portions, would be rolls. Buns tend to be sweeter than rolls, although a ...


16

There are two conflicting usages. For example, a Google search for "the data suggest" returns 10,000,000 results, but a search for "the data suggests" still returns almost 2,000,000 hits. Wiktionary says: data uncountable or plural noun 1. Plural form of datum: pieces of information. 2. (uncountable, collectively) information. 3. A collection of ...


16

According to Merriam-Webster, e-mail[...]2 b: an e-mail message <sent him an e–mail> Wiktionary agrees: e-mail (countable and uncountable; plural e-mails) [...] 2. (countable, see Usage notes below)A message sent via an e-mail system. I am searching through my old e-mails. He sent me several e-mails last week to that effect. The ...


14

It is perfectly acceptable to use the plural of non-count nouns when discussing multiple different types of something. Here are some examples, using milks: Daily tests of the butterfat contents of the three milks showed much wider variations ... The season's results of the casein analysis of the three milks are shown ... Fish and fishes is ...


12

I use both "emails" and "email" in the following manner: I need to check my email. I sent you several emails, to which you have yet to respond. My rationalization for #2 is that "emails" is short for "email messages". I would never, however, say "I need to check my emails," because in "I need to check my email," the word "email" is a collective ...


12

Yes, the pattern that you mention is true. The reason for the difference is that "iron" is considered to be a so-called mass noun, or "uncountable". When you say something like "The dog is an animal" or "The corkscrew is a useful invention" etc, what you are basically saying is "Any prototypical example of a dog/corkscrew is...". In other words, for the ...


12

Both sentences are grammatically correct, but in general the first is true and the second false. “Sedimentary rock” refers to sedimentary rock structures or sedimentary rocks in general; “sedimentary rocks” refers to pieces of sedimentary rock. The first statement suggests that fossils may be found in sedimentary rock, which typically is so. The second ...


12

Quantifying is not the same as counting.* You can say "2 litres of water", but that doesn't mean it's countable (it's not). Similarly, you can say "2 GB of RAM", but not "I need 2 RAMs in my phone": it's not countable. That's why you don't ask "how many RAMs do I need for this?", but rather: How much RAM do I need? The word "GB" is obviously countable, ...


11

There're is common in speech, at least in certain dialects, but you'll rarely see it written. If I were being pedantic, I'd advise you to use there are in your example, because there is is definitely wrong, so there's could be considered wrong as well. But a huge number of English speakers, even those that are well-educated, use there's universally, ...


11

Music is an uncountable noun in most senses: that is a word that refers to a group or an amount of something, or to some broad concept that there cannot be two of. Music is an art or a human category of sounds; it is not a particular instance of something related to this art. For such an instance, you could use piece of music, song, number, movement, ...


11

Beware broad-brush approaches, even if you find a dictionary offering the count - uncount classification. Some - perhaps many - nouns are non-count in some senses and count in others. Coffee is a good example - its basic sense is uncount: Coffee is a drink made by infusing the ground beans of Coffea arabica etc. Too much coffee can be bad for you. ...


10

None is commonly used as a plural. You can find many examples in the Corpus of Contemporary American English. For example, I searched for none of the [nn2] [vv0] to find examples where none refers to something in plural and then takes a plural verb. ([nn2] matches any plural common noun and [vv0] matches any simple verb not inflected for third person ...


10

Outside of the emotional realm (as noted by FumbleFingers), they both generally refer to "that stuff you're traveling with". I think I'm more likely to say "baggage" for irregular items (e.g. golf clubs) and "luggage" for things packed in suitcases. "Luggage" but not "baggage" can also refer to the suitcase itself; when you buy a suitcase you're buying ...


10

Both are considered mass nouns, just like milk, air, etc. However, work can also refer to a singular piece of creation (art, literature, plays, etc.), in which case it can be pluralized: These are all the works of Shakespeare. If you want to refer to a specific part of your work, you could use task: I completed twelve tasks. I got a lot of work ...


10

Most English dictionaries used and published in the United States don't include that information, just as they don't provide IPA-based phonemic transcription. However, dictionaries published in the UK and elsewhere sometimes do, especially dictionaries for English learners. One American online exception is Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary, which ...


9

In English it's usually an uncountable (mass) noun, with "piece of spaghetti" or "strand of spaghetti" used for the "singular", but in Italian spaghetti is plural (of "spaghetto"), and they freely use it as such. (See this website.) All the citations in the OED for "spaghetti" are consistent with its being used as a non-count noun, so I don't think Maugham's ...


9

This is an example of a well-established countification process for (some) mass nouns. Below is a minor elaboration of the last comment on the answer linked above. It's an ordinary example of how efficient language is in using resourses. Why waste a perfectly good plural suffix when it can be used to signal something else, like diversity of type (15 ...


8

When revision means a change, it can be countable, as in make a few revisions to a report. When it means examining something so it can be changed, then it can be both: a system in need of revision AND a revision of standards. Finally, when it means learning for an exam, it is always uncountable.


8

Is "Just a friendly advice" grammatical? Assuming you meant "grammatical" in its "grammatically correct" form, then... no. It isn't. Advice is a non-countable noun and, as such, "an advice" is invalid. Injecting the adjective "friendly" does not change that. Here are some correct equivalents: Just a friendly piece of advice. Just a friendly bit of ...


7

I think you are correct in that if a noun is unambiguously mass or count then the qualifier doesn't matter, the meaning can be taken from the noun. However compare: I ate too much fish vs. I ate too many fish. If the noun is ambiguous in that way, then the meaning must be taken from the qualifier. So if you mistook "fish" for a term that was always mass ...


7

Both much and many can be used, but which is appropriate depends on whether the noun they're referring to is countable or not. With countable nouns, use many more or many fewer: I had many more bananas than Tom. I had many fewer nickels than Alice. With uncountable nouns, use much more or much less How much more fiber does a banana have than an ...


7

I would say it's not incorrect grammatically speaking, but perhaps imprecise. It would be clearly incorrect to say something like "Have you got pencil?" 'Paper', on the other hand, in the sense you've used it is a mass noun. The usage in English seems a bit murky, but you'd be well understood in a classroom if you asked a child "Have you got paper?" in the ...


7

For the more common usage (as an uncountable, or mass noun), "rice" isn't a plural, so the issue of whether it's regular or not simply doesn't arise. But when we speak of, say, different rices of the world, it's just a regular plural. On the other hand, it's not impossible for a word which is a mass noun to have an irregular plural. In some contexts fish is ...



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