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." http://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/definition/english/infrastructure

With that in mind, my question is: is the following sentence grammatical? It seems wrong to me:

I enjoy the city infrastructures and the kindness of the local people.

EDIT: This was written by a student from a developing country about her experience living in a developed one.

  • 3
    I'd say that one city has one infrastructure. Also, I'm not too sure I'd say 'I enjoy the roads, the power supply, the refuse collection service, the sewerage system ...'. Certainly not coupled with 'and the kindness of the local people'. I'd use 'I really appreciate how problem-free the city's infrastructure is'. Commented Nov 18, 2015 at 0:03
  • Almost certainly the count usage refers to different cities' (etc) infrastructures: 'the rail infrastructures in Norway and Belgium' (ie 'the rail infrastructure in Norway and that in Belgium'). // We tend to address the English involved, and a question like 'Correct?: ... (rather than 'Is it correct to use the plural count form 'infrastructures' here?') may invite all sorts of comments on grammaticality and idiomaticity. Commented Nov 18, 2015 at 0:21
  • It's not correct with "the" and the plural. I enjoy city infrastructures. I enjoy the city infrastructure. I enjoy city infrastructure. Not ok -> I enjoy the city infrastructures (because in the context of a single city the infrastructure is uncountable. The city has its infrastructure.).
    – TimR
    Commented Nov 18, 2015 at 0:23
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    @EdwinAshworth How about Our city has five basic infrastructures - power, refuse, transport, water and sewage.
    – WS2
    Commented Nov 18, 2015 at 0:28
  • Looking at contextual translations of the French word "infrastuctures" (plural), all corresponding English sentences systematically use the singular. Note that, in your example, "facilities" is perhaps a better choice than "infrastructure".
    – Graffito
    Commented Nov 18, 2015 at 0:36

1 Answer 1


A cursory Google search suggests that the majority of attestations of the plural infrastructures will be found in books and articles authored by non-native speakers. (I know, I know, a name is not conclusive evidence of anything).

In the American press, we tend to see and hear the singular infrastructure used as a non-countable noun that encompasses sewage, water treatment, roads, electrical grid, communications, etc. Unmodified, it refers to any or all of them. We tend not to use the plural to refer to several of them together:

The earthquake severely damaged the city's water-treatment and electrical infrastructure.

We might even see a plural verb after the non-count noun:

They seemed to rest content with the idea that road and rail infrastructure were now treated on an equal footing... [emphasis mine]

(though this is not from a US publication)

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