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Is it more correct to say:

"There is a scaffolding around my house"

than:

"There is scaffolding around my house" ?

2 Answers 2

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Scaffolding is more correctly used as non-count noun. So therefore, "There is scaffolding around the house" is the correct answer.

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  • The idea is whether scaffolding is a count or non-count noun. I would argue it is more correct as non-count noun. A non-count noun is like furniture. You never pluralize furniture. A count noun is more common. It is like boy. It can be pluralized. I could never imagine saying ScaffoldingS
    – Karlomanio
    Apr 28, 2016 at 19:47
  • ab2 quotes examples of it used as a count noun, from a dictionary. On what grounds do you assert that a non-count noun is "more correct"?(Myself, I have never heard it as a count noun, but clearly others disagree).
    – Colin Fine
    Apr 28, 2016 at 20:04
  • Only personal experience. I do agree that "a scaffolding" doesn't sound completely incorrect, but rather strange. "Scaffoldings" sounds bizarre and like a foreign language learner that is using the language. I guess we need to go to a dictionary to be sure.
    – Karlomanio
    Apr 28, 2016 at 20:16
  • Okay, I found this reference in Wiktionary that backs up my point as being more correct. en.wiktionary.org/wiki/scaffolding#English They refer to scaffolding as "Usually noncount", but make a reference to scaffoldings. I completely agree with this. Though it is Wiktionary...
    – Karlomanio
    Apr 28, 2016 at 20:19
  • 2
    To me, the mass noun is "scaffolding", so I don't use it with "a" or in the plural. The count noun is "a scaffold"; in other words, a particular instance of scaffolding. I can use "scaffold" in the plural as well to tell how many there are around buildings on, say, on one block. Apr 29, 2016 at 11:40
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To my surprise, you can say either. To my ear, "scaffolding around the house" sounds more natural, but "a scaffolding around the house" is also OK.

Examples: The Free Dictionary. I am giving two examples of "a scaffolding" followed by two examples of "scaffolding"

Her father, who was a mason, was killed by falling from a scaffolding

We saw a tall wooden scaffolding on the very peak of the summit, a hundred yards away, and made for it.

I had a dim impression of scaffolding, but I was already going too fast to be conscious of any moving things

Some scaffolding had been erected against the end wall, and the stone-work had been broken into, but there were no signs of any workmen at the moment of our visit

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  • Thank you, reading the examples above was helpful! I wrote this sentence to a friend: "the house is covered with a scaffolding" and he corrected me writing " the house is covered with scaffolding". Maybe "the house is covered by a scaffolding" is more appropriate..?
    – Dani
    Apr 28, 2016 at 19:29
  • @Dani "The house is covered by scaffolding" sounds more natural to me, and it is more commonly used. However, what you wrote is not incorrect, just unusual.
    – ab2
    Apr 28, 2016 at 19:33
  • Thank you ab2, there are definitely non-native speaker features in my English, although I like to speak it as correctly as possible..
    – Dani
    Apr 28, 2016 at 20:55

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