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What is correct (or are both expressions correct):

  1. Piece of gear
  2. Article of gear

I learned that if there is no specific singular of a word I have to use piece of ... but when I look into some dictionarries I see the article of gear although I find piece of gear a lot on websites (just by googling for that expression).

So what's the correct one or are both correct and if yes in which cases I use the one or the other?

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  • This is the case where 1 works: When my trash compactor broke last year, I had to extract a piece of gear from the back of the cabinet.
    – user662852
    Commented Aug 27, 2015 at 12:35
  • I mean with gear the same as equipment. I think you refer to the mechanical "gear" right? Commented Aug 27, 2015 at 12:39
  • I would say that "piece of gear" is more idiomatic in the US. "Article of gear" sounds a hair confused, since "article" is formal and "gear" is informal. (Though even "piece of equipment" is more idiomatic than "article..." in the US.)
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Aug 27, 2015 at 12:55
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    Neither sounds great to me. When talking about a collection of related items I might say "gear" but when talking about a single piece, I'd just call it what it is. Instead of "piece of gear" just say "shoe" or "carabiner" or "sleeping bag" or whatever it was.
    – barbecue
    Commented Aug 30, 2015 at 0:50

2 Answers 2

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Both phrases sound wrong to my ears to be honest, for the simple reason that I've never heard them being used before. I would be more inclined to use "an item of gear".

Example: "An item of gear has been stolen from the boat".

Bear in mind though that just because my Irish ears think that "piece of gear" is wrong, doesn't mean that it is not perfectly acceptable elsewhere.

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Both are incorrect because "gear" is uncountable. We use "some" for gear, so "some gear." or to use the example from the other answer, "Some gear was stolen from the boat."

Article is used for clothing, as in "an article of clothing." We also use "some" for clothing, "take some clothing with you."

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  • Okay so it's a piece of equipment, an article of clothing but some gear right? Sounds strange to me but I'm not a native speaker (as you may guess). What about the proposal of @Baz with an item of gear? Commented Aug 27, 2015 at 12:29
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    There's nothing wrong with "piece of gear", other than the informality of "gear". "Equipment" is just as "uncountable" as "gear" in this context.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Aug 27, 2015 at 12:57
  • @HotLicks since when did gear or equipment become formal or informal words? The business English book that I was using this evening (Oxford UP) teaches equipment as uncountable...we were talking about this very subject in class tonight. I feel it is incorrect to use piece with equipment...piece of bread is acceptable...but not gear or equipment...piece of what? Equipment is a collection of things...say exactly what...a hammer, a wrench, a sonic screwdriver. Commented Aug 27, 2015 at 13:27
  • @TiMESPLiNTER I feel that piece of equipment is also incorrect. Commented Aug 27, 2015 at 13:28
  • How is a piece of bread different from a piece of equipment (I mean linguistically, not considering that you can eat one and not the other)?
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Aug 27, 2015 at 22:11

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