2

I (non-native English speaker) wrote this sentence as one part of a beer description. It feels right to me. Some people started insisting that Lager should actually be Lagers.

What I mean to say is a contribution to the style "Lager".

Are both version correct or only one of them? Please explain why.

  • 2
    lager can be construed as a count noun, in which case lagers is the correct plural, but also as a mass noun, in which case lager is the correct plural. Both are correct, but in my opinion, the mass noun lager sounds better than lagers. – GoldenGremlin Aug 7 '16 at 16:53
  • 3
    To those people who don't like your version, ask them to substitute in "beers", which sounds funny: "This Vienna Red is out contribution to beers". "This Vienna Red is our contribution to beer" sounds much better. – GoldenGremlin Aug 7 '16 at 16:56
  • 3
    oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/lager for the mass/count noun lager. – We oath to creation Aug 7 '16 at 16:59
  • Both 'the world of lager' and 'the world of lagers' are used, but the former vastly predominates on the internet. As one would expect, this does not define a pattern. 'The world of men' outperforms 'the world of man'. – Edwin Ashworth Aug 7 '16 at 21:54
  • Note the inconsistency of 'He drinks wine' vs 'He drinks spirits'. – Edwin Ashworth Aug 8 '16 at 16:42
1

Lager - A kind of effervescent beer which is light in colour and body

The contribution is to a kind of beer, not to kinds of beer. Therefore you seek the singular 'lager'.

That lager can be a count noun or a mass noun (http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/lager) is in this case irrelevant.

  • 1
    Suppose a company manufactures a new type of pen. They could say "This is our contribution to pens." Here, 'pens' is both plural and is functioning as a kind term (what is called an artifactual kind). I don't think kind terms are always singular, which is suggested by your explanation. – GoldenGremlin Aug 7 '16 at 17:06
  • @Silenus "This is our contribution to the pen." (If you invented the Bic.) Any problem sits with the word 'contribution', not 'lager'. Because Vienna Red doesn't add to the type (not all lager has Vienna Red in it), but adds to the breadth of the type. – We oath to creation Aug 7 '16 at 17:09
  • 1
    But "the world of men" is more common according to Google data than "the world of man"; I'd say neither is significantly different in meaning from "the human world". – Edwin Ashworth Aug 7 '16 at 21:58
  • @EdwinAshworth 'men' in 'the world of men' is very often intended to be plural masculine. It is about worlds or scenes dominated by men; not man. Think: darts. Look it up on the regular Google. It has little to do with 'the human world'. But I don't know whether the analogy would be proper in the first place. – We oath to creation Aug 8 '16 at 5:35
  • 1
    The question is whether the plural forms of various nouns (here, lager) may be used in a non-count as well as the usual count way. With 'I wanted to get into conglomerates', it is obvious that 'conglomerates'' is used that way (*'I wanted to get into some / several / three conglomerates'). As with Silenus's example "This is our contribution to pens." These may well be deletions from 'the field of ...' / 'the world of ...' / etc, but cannot be treated as standard count usages. Here, 'lager' as the singular-form mass noun is the usual choice, but the plural-form mass noun is not incorrect. – Edwin Ashworth Aug 8 '16 at 9:39

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.