So glass can mean glass where you pour some liquid and it can mean glass itself as material.

So for example when you say "does glass float or sink?", how to understand what it means? Let say I want to ask for actual glass material, not glass (of water).

What is the best way to specify it, so people would understand what I am talking about?

P.S. in my native language those are different words, so it is easy to understand.

  • Not to be stickler but if asked "does glass float or sink," it wouldn't matter whether it were in the shape of a drinking container or not. Coming to your other question, glass usually has a shape, like a bowl, cylinder, test tube, sheets, sphere, spectacles, vase, etc or not, like crushed, shattered, liquid (if melted). Pick yours. – vickyace Jun 5 '16 at 10:34
  • Well it does matter, because if it would be glass crystal, it would sink, but if it was like a drinking container, it would depend on which side it was put on water. – Andrius Jun 5 '16 at 10:36
  • What I meant was that when using glass without any article (a or the) it would be helpful to use an adjective because a bowl wouldn't sink when placed base first but a slab of glass would. Please note that using "a glass" will still confuse people who put any thought into it. – vickyace Jun 5 '16 at 10:50

In the case of 'glass' it can mean a glass from which you drink or it can mean the material. Typically you would help the reader by giving the reader more context. If you say "Does a glass float or sink" the reader sees it as something that holds liquid. If you do not specify the article 'a' it means the material.

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