Is it correct to say 'plenty of chance' rather than 'plenty of chances' or are they both acceptable? You certainly wouldn't say 'many chance' but 'many chances'. Is there something about the phrase 'plenty of' or is it that the word 'chance' can be used to mean more than one opportunity, thus intrinsically denoting a plurality of concept? Can anyone explain the correct usage?

  • I'm AmE and would say "plenty of chances". But maybe those BrEs would allow "plenty of chance" since they are (generally) more comfortable with mass nouns. I'm interested to see. – GoldenGremlin Jun 21 '16 at 14:50
  • Google Books claims 1290 written instances of haven't had chance (without the article), but it should be noted that there are far more instances of haven't had a chance. Bear in mind that these are written contexts - if pedantic grammarians were to think the article must be present (I've no idea if they do or not) that wouldn't necessarily affect usage in spoken contexts so much. In the real (non-pedantic) world, both usages are perfectly normal. – FumbleFingers Jun 21 '16 at 14:53
  • plenty of chances, a countable noun but plenty of money or coffee nouns (uncountable).Chance (uncountable) and chance (countable) have two different meanings. oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/us/definition/english/chance_1 That said, the uncountable meaning here would not work in my opinion or as chance would have it. – Lambie Jun 21 '16 at 14:59
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    @FumbleFingers The problem with google is that it is inert and not a thinking person. /haven't had chance/ is not grammatical in English. /haven't had a chance or the chance/ is grammatical. – Lambie Jun 21 '16 at 15:05
  • From what I can tell, the question is not about the use of chance as a mass noun generally. It's about the appearance of chance after plenty of and whether or not there is a convention of saying things like "I've given you plenty of chance, but now it's over!" Here's an Ngram, FWIW: books.google.com/ngrams/… – GoldenGremlin Jun 21 '16 at 15:11

"Luck" has a few definitions - one is "the quantity of luck" and the other is "the abstract concept of luckiness in general".

One of the meanings of "Chance" is synonymous with the "abstract concept of luckiness in general". (As in "games of chance"). Another meaning is "opportunity".

However, there is no meaning of "chance" which is synonymous with "the quantity of luck".

So, to use some golfing examples (Golf is a luck-heavy sport) you could say "With a bit more luck, I can get this hole in 3 shots" but you can't say "With a bit more chance, I can get this hole in 3 shots".

You could say "I've got a chance to get this hole in 3 shots.", if, say, you'd been lucky so far and needed a little bit more luck to make the last shot.

"Plenty of luck" is using the "quantity of luck" meaning, and so you cannot subsitute the word "chance". You can say "chances", as that means "opportunities".

  • What you say makes perfect sense. plenty of means a large quantity of [countable things] or large quantity of [uncountable things]. The uncountable meaning of chance does not work here. – Lambie Jun 21 '16 at 17:24
  • Playing google books: haven't had chance=1,300 hits;haven't had a chance=102,000 hits;haven't had the chance=15,900 hits. It used to be that basically every word in a novel was proofread by human eyes. Nowadays, I suppose that is no longer the case. I would argue that in the first 20 hits or so of: haven't had chance is a proofing oversight... – Lambie Jun 21 '16 at 17:34

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