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135

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.


74

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 ...


64

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 ...


58

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. ...


29

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 ...


27

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 ...


22

Emails and email are both correct plurals, but each has its own context. It depends on whether or not you are using it as a countable or uncountable noun. Email You can use email as an uncountable noun, just like mail. For example, "I received lots of email today" or "John sends me too much stupid chain email". But, you cannot use email as a ...


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 ...


17

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 ...


15

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 ...


14

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 ...


14

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 ...


13

Stuff is a collective noun — it represents a group of objects. Just as one would say "this group" or "this pile," one would say "this stuff".


13

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, ...


13

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 ...


13

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 ...


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

This is intended as a clarification of the "correctness" of using data as a mass noun, for those strict-minded sticklers (there's plenty of them) who might be unconvinced by Kosmonaut's "languages borrow words and do whatever they want with them": 1 - "Datum" and "data (plural)" are historically correct, so "data (mass noun)" must be wrong. How can ...


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

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. ...


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

None is indeed originally from not one or not a/an (since this happened before one and a/an became separate words, c.f. How French uses un/une for both the number one, and the indefinite article). At the time that this happened though, it could be declined according to gender, number and case. King Alfred's translation of Boëthius' Consolatio Philosophiae ...


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

Soap is both a countable and uncountable noun (i.e. a mass noun like milk). Usually, if you're in a grocery store, you'd ask: Where can I find soap? You could use the plural form, to convey that you're looking for a greater variety: Where can I find your soaps? I'm looking for something lavender-scented, or maybe a honey/butter mix. (Also see ...


10

I wonder if it is talking about this: With mass nouns, you have to use the singular. ("None of the wheat is...") With count nouns, you can use either the singular or the plural. ("None of the books is..." or "None of the books are...") Usually, the plural sounds more natural, unless you're trying to emphasize the idea of "not one", or if ...


10

The word "whitespace" is usually uncountable. If you need it to be countable, I would suggest saying "whitespace characters".


10

This is a specific usage that concerns items on a menu. It is perfectly acceptable to say "three lattes" or "one water" because you are referring to a specific item like a bottle, rather than a substance.



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