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Questions tagged [countable-nouns]

Countable nouns can be modified by a quantity.

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11answers
19k views

“Less” vs. “fewer”

I've just received a memo which says (effectively) As more people leave, there will be less people available. I want that word to be fewer. Are there guidelines for which word ought to be used ...
32
votes
6answers
30k views

Types of things vs. types of thing

When speaking precisely or technically, one would say that "Homo erectus and homo sapiens are two species of hominid" rather than "Homo erectus and homo sapiens are two species of hominids." The ...
23
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1answer
1k views

British Mass Nouns versus American Count Nouns

British English often employs mass nouns where American English would only employ count nouns. Count nouns are nouns which take pluralization and numerical quantifiers like 'many'. Mass nouns can't be ...
22
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9answers
6k views

Why is it correct to say “fewer calories” when calories are continuous? [duplicate]

This question, "Discrete Units of a Continuous Quantity", asks whether units of a continuous quantity should be spoken of as discrete or continuous. The top answer states The rule is simple, and ...
17
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3answers
3k views

Is “youth” gender-neutral when countable?

Matt Errey at the "English Club" website suggests otherwise. I can easily choose "young people" over "youth," but doing so might suggest I am doing it to increase word count.
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5answers
25k views

The Plural of Email - Emails? [duplicate]

I debated with my peers that we can use the word emails when referring to more than one and it would be grammatically right. But most of them said since we don't say we received mails today, ...
15
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5answers
2k views

Do native speakers of major English varieties actually say “a software” or “softwares”?

So I've looked up the word "software" around, and I've learned that -ware words are uncountable, and there's even a claim at the Wiktionary entry for this word that "a software" or "softwares" are a ...
13
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2answers
22k views

“Less” vs. “Fewer” when referring to a percentage of a countable quantity

Judging by the consensus over at this question, one should use "fewer" over "less" for countable quantities. What about in this situation? [Less or Fewer] than 10.7% of the people were happy. ...
12
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13answers
25k views

Plural of “advice”

The dictionary says that advice can only be used in the singular. But in a specific part of computer science (aspect-oriented programming) this word is used to reference some object that implements ...
11
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4answers
117k views

So, “Some advice” or “some advices”? Which is correct?

"Some advice" or "some advices" as in "I got some advice / advices for you"? So, Which is correct? In Oxford Learner's Dictionaries, "advice" is uncountable noun, so "Some advice" is the correct one....
8
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2answers
3k views

Why do we use the article 'a' when referring to 100 items? But we don't use it when referring to any other plural count?

Edit Note: This question has been linked to these questions about using an article before adjectives modifying numbers. This question here has nothing to do with adjectives at all: Indefinite ...
8
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2answers
15k views

Is it “if you need further instruction” or “if you need further instructions”?

Having a debate with a friend about whether it is "instruction" or "instructions"
8
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4answers
7k views

Is radish countable or uncountable?

Are vegetables like cabbage, lettuce, radish countable or not when we talk about food? Which is correct? "We have some cabbage in the kitchen." Or "We have a cabbage." "I added some radishes to the ...
8
votes
2answers
768 views

Can a word countability change when you are able/unable to count it?

A word's countability is basically defined by its own definition and it seems they generally do not change but are there any exceptions under some circumstances? Or do grammar rules never care about ...
8
votes
1answer
5k views

“I like apples” vs “I like apple”?

If I understand it correctly, nouns for fruits (and certain types of foodstuffs, such as pizza) are used as mass nouns if thought of as "food substance", rather than "portions". So is it correct that ...
7
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4answers
93k views

Why is bread uncountable? How do you describe the “three breads” in the picture?

In this picture there are "three breads", but they are not loaves because loaves can be cut into pieces, and they are not slices either because they weren't cut with a knife. So the only way to refer ...
6
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1answer
392 views

Countable ingredient pluralization for English cookbooks

The rule for countable ingredient pluralization appears to be: If more than one countable ingredient is necessary to fill the required amount, then the ingredient is pluralized. For example: 2 ...
6
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2answers
1k views

A code or some code?

When talking about the source code of a program, my Computer Science teacher sometimes refers to single pieces of code as 'a code'. For example: For today's task, you need to write a code which ...
6
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2answers
3k views

Compound words/noun phrases in english with different number of words in plural/singular form

Are there any cases where the plural and singular form of an English compound word or noun phrase differ in the number of words contained? In all cases I can think of, the actual words within the ...
5
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1answer
3k views

two uncountable nouns with and

If we had two uncountable nouns with and , would we use a singular or plural form? How much flour and butter is/are needed to make a pizza ?
5
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3answers
1k views

Is “I've told you at fewest ten times” grammatical?

After this question was put on hold, I am editing this to clarify that I am not seeking "the most wrong answer," but that I am instead asking for a reason for the continued use of a construction that ...
5
votes
3answers
171 views

Why is it “the loss of American life” as opposed to “the loss of American lives”?

The noun life when denoting "a way or manner of living" (MW) or "living things considered together" is used in singular, but when it means "the quality that distinguishes a vital and functional being ...
5
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1answer
12k views

Is it correct to use infrastructure as a countable noun in this context?

My understanding of the word "infrastructure" is that it is uncountable. However, upon looking it up in Oxford Learner's Dictionary, I found that it is classified as "countable, uncountable." http://...
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3answers
5k views

“I am looking for soaps” or “I am looking for soap” - which one is better?

I think that if I want to ask for something or discuss something an ”s” is needed at the end of a noun, but I don’t know why a singular noun is not sufficient? Every time I have asked a shop employee,...
4
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4answers
300 views

Is WTF singular? uncountable?

More specifically, can someone analyze grammar of and recommend which of the following is correct: One WTF less vs. One WTF fewer If it matters, the intention was to imply that if one instance ...
4
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1answer
1k views

Can 'surgery' be a count noun in the sense of 'medical procedure'?

This is something that has bothered me for a long time. Several years ago a remember noticing in the media a shift from using "An operation" to "A surgery" when talking about someone who was ...
4
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3answers
607 views

Difference between singular and countable nouns

Cambridge dictionaries use various labels and codes, among them are: [C] Countable noun: a noun that has a plural. [U] Uncountable or singular noun: a noun that has no plural. [S] A singular noun. ...
3
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4answers
4k views

Can the word “peace” be pluralised?

Fairly self-explanatory question: can the word “peace” be pluralised? For those that are interested, the reason I ask is because a coworker just scored 60 points against me with "peaces". Triple ...
3
votes
6answers
481 views

Why is “collect a coin” ungrammatical?

I'm on the topic of countability and an example in my book says that "collect a coin" is ungrammatical, and that you say "collect coins" instead. But why? Is it because "collecting" is not appropriate ...
3
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4answers
8k views

when does the noun “time” become a countable noun?

I am writing an email to my friend and want to use this sentence: "I am having a great time." I would like to know whether the above sentence is correct. Also, I know that time can be an ...
3
votes
2answers
262 views

Glasses - countable or uncountable noun?

Is word glasses countable or uncountable? Are these sentences correct? These glasses (referring to one pair of glasses) are my favourite! I have quite a few glasses in my drawer, however, my favourite ...
3
votes
3answers
1k views

Is “troop” unique among English words in meaning both a group and an individual member of that kind of group?

The term "troop" can mean a group of soldiers, or it can mean an individual soldier (perhaps in this usage it was originally short for "trooper"). In fact, in modern usage, the plural "troops" almost ...
3
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2answers
8k views

Shouldn’t we use “lots of” with plural nouns and “a lot of” with singular ones?

Is it correct to say "there are a lot of aspects" like here (see the first comment) or here? Shouldn't be "lots of" used instead? I was sure that the correct form is "lots of" for the plural form.
3
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2answers
1k views

'Ass' (“fool”): vulgar?

My kid heard the word ass somewhere and asked what it meant. My wife said not to use it as it's not a nice word. (She meant that it's vulgar or obscene.) Later (when the kid wasn't around), I objected ...
3
votes
2answers
631 views

Discrete units of continuous quantity

Is it proper to speak of units of a continuous quantity as if they are discrete or continuous? For example, I never know whether I should say that some food has "less calories" than another food (...
3
votes
3answers
318 views

Is “fulfilment” pluralized to “fulfilments”?

Where I work, we use the term "fulfilment" to mean the way the product is delivered to the end user. But a co-worker and I are having a disagreement on whether "fulfilment" needs an to have an "s" ...
3
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1answer
2k views

Abstract nouns: countable and uncountable

What is the element that causes many abstract nouns to be both countable and uncountable (not with different meanings)? To illustrate the point, a word like taste as a noun when it means "the ...
3
votes
3answers
1k views

Society as a countable noun

Macmillan Dictionary gives the following example sentence for the word "society" as a countable noun: "Good writing still has a place in contemporary society." (http://www.macmillandictionary.com/...
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2answers
422 views

Question about “criticism” and “critique”

Are criticism and critique mass nouns? If not, what semantic area does their countable usage refer to?
3
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1answer
11k views

There is (are) + countable plural nouns [duplicate]

I keep hearing from native speakers the phrases like these: There is a lot of cars (books, hotels) There is a couple of cars (books, hotels) There is five (ten, etc.) of cars (books, hotels) There is ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

Is “surroundings” a plural noun or a mass noun that just happens to take the form of a plural?

I personally interpret “surroundings” as at least a plural-only noun but possibly just a noun whose plural form is much more common than its singular form in modern usage. But on a forum I frequent, ...
3
votes
1answer
950 views

What’s the reason for the zero article after a preposition and countable noun in “a change of X” and in “a switch from X to Y”?

I am a non-native speaker of English and therefore need your help. The question is: why do we use the zero article in the phrases “a change of X” and “a switch from X to Y”? For instance: a change ...
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4answers
4k views

Why is liquid a countable noun? [closed]

I read this sentence in a description to a podcast from https://www.eslpod.com/website/index_new.html Batter, “batter,” when we talk about cooking is a liquid, made usually with eggs, and flower, ...
2
votes
2answers
8k views

Does “every time” not mean “all the time”?

In this article, Singapore Plans To Become The World's First Smart Nation, there is an explanation about the E3A plan by Leonard: We're working on something that we've named E3A, which is our way ...
2
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1answer
2k views

When can uncountable nouns be countable?

I have a question about uncountable nouns that are used as countable in certain situations. When it comes to some uncountable nouns such as fruit, cake, coffee etc., I have found out that they can ...
2
votes
4answers
7k views

“Two pairs of trousers” vs. “two trousers”

I have read the following sentence in an exercise book written by a non-native speaker: Wilson has bought two trousers. I know that it is very common to say "Wilson has bought two pairs of ...
2
votes
2answers
45 views

Since 'few' is used for countable nouns and 'less' is for uncountable nouns

Since 'few' is used for countable things and 'Less' is for uncountable things then why do we say; I have less than 2 days/months/years. ? Yes, time is an uncountable concept but we sure can count ...
2
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3answers
109 views

Is 'public' a mass noun?

Does anyone know which kind of noun 'public' is? Is it a common noun or a collective noun?
2
votes
1answer
225 views

Mixing countability; how to correctly say “there is plenty of rice, earthquakes and typhoons”?

In this question I wrote the following sentence, knowing full well that it has problems. Where I live right now there is plenty of rice, earthquakes and typhoons. Both earthquake and typhoon are ...
2
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3answers
4k views

“I often buy fruit” vs “I often buy fruits”?

These are the grammar guidelines: To say things in general, we can use an uncount noun with no article. Eg: I like cheese or we can use a plural count noun with no article. ...