I'd appreciate it if someone would answer my question concerning the following sentence. Thank you.

Many times, planes would crash after they had already started their flight home, most often from damage and mechanical failure. In an interview, V. C. talks about how he witnessed a plane blow up right in front of him, just before landing. He said “they all dropped the bombs in the Adriatic, you know, before they landed. They had to clean off the field before we could land anyway, because there was plane scattered all over.”

(My emphasis)

How is it right to use plane without an article? How can it be a non-count noun?

  • There is no underlined part. You can't underline text on this site. You should put it in bold text or italics—or use some other way of setting the piece of text apart. If you found it online somewhere, provide a link too. Jul 16, 2019 at 18:45
  • 3
    Assuming that the phrase you are asking about is 'plane scattered all over', it's an unconventional, rather flippant expression. V.C. obviously means that pieces of debris from the plane that had blown up were scattered over the airfield, but uses 'plane' as though it were a substance. Jul 16, 2019 at 18:56
  • I think it's reasonably clear what the question is. A link is necessary, though. "From Google" is not good enough, especially since Google does not find your quote at all (and it indexes this site very quickly, let alone any other).
    – Andrew Leach
    Jul 16, 2019 at 18:57
  • @Cascabel I did not in any way mean to offend anyone or minimise the impact of the statement. I meant to imply that the writer is using a touch of 'black humour'. Rather than say 'debris from the explosion' (the obvious way to describe the scene) he uses 'plane' in the way one might say that a dropped plate results in 'dinner all over the floor'. Jul 17, 2019 at 7:36
  • @KateBunting Sorry, it just brought of some bad memories. Jul 18, 2019 at 23:51

1 Answer 1


Yes, "plane" can be used this way. The idea of a clear division between "count nouns" and "non-count nouns" is a simplification.

Any (or almost any) "count" noun X can be used non-countably to express "pieces of X" or "the substance that X is made of". It isn't a special property of the word "plane": you could likewise say things like

After the explosion in the car/cell phone/computer/robot/ factory, there was car/cell phone/computer/robot scattered all over

This usage tends to sound slangy.

  • ---Thank you all. I'm the original poster. I'm very surprised and sorry to find my post has caused a bad effect. Anyway I find "plane" can be used as a non-count noun. That's enough to me. As for my quote, I think it's rather inappropriate. I should have chosen a less violent one. To my students I'll show the example; After a drone crashed into the mountain, there was drone scattered all over. Thank you very much all for your sincere responses. Jul 20, 2019 at 11:07

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