Why do you say ‘natural resources' in plural? We can't count coal oil nor coal in earth.

  • 1
    What's the context? Commented Aug 21, 2019 at 8:35
  • The context is ‘ Everybody knows that we should make use of limited natural resources as effectively as possible.’
    – dandan
    Commented Aug 22, 2019 at 3:38

2 Answers 2


What is being counted in "natural resources" is not pieces of coal or barrels of oil. Meriam Webster defines resource as:

a natural source of wealth or revenue —often used in plural

Coal is one natural resource. Oil is one natural resource. Coal and oil are two natural resources.

  • Thank you very much. I could understand that very well.
    – dandan
    Commented Aug 22, 2019 at 14:12

We don't always say, 'Natural resources' in plural. There are occasions where the singular, 'Natural resource' is used.

Here is an example from Wikipedia of both singular and plural used in a single sentence:

"Natural resource management is a discipline in the management of natural resources such as land, water, soil, plants, and animals"

"A natural resource may exist as a separate entity such as fresh water, air, and as well as a living organism"

If we are talking about a singular natural resource such as the ocean, it would be referred to as a natural resource. If we are referring to hydrocarbons generally, such as coal, oil etc. it would be referred to as natural resources.

Just as a side note, I counted the plurals and singulars in the Wikipedia link:
'Natural resources' is used 40 times.
'Natural resource' is used 21 times.

  • Thank you so much for your time. I could understand very well.
    – dandan
    Commented Aug 22, 2019 at 14:14

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