76

Divisibility does not mean something is not countable or that it isn't a discrete unit, requiring use of 'fewer'. A calorie is not 'energy' it is a 'unit of energy', and therefore, countable and discrete, even though it's divisible. It's divisible into further discrete units - half a calorie, in this case, is still a discrete unit. Using another example, ...


34

a is replacing one. That is, in the following pairings, both options are legitimate: I saw one hundred [and] forty-seven birds today.1 I saw a hundred [and] forty-seven birds today.1 I earned one million dollars. I earned a million dollars. Preferences for one or the other may vary. To me, using one sounds more precise than a, so that would influence my ...


27

Emails and email are both correct plurals, but each has its own context. It depends on whether or not you are using it as a countable or uncountable noun. Email You can use email as an uncountable noun, just like mail. For example, "I received lots of email today" or "John sends me too much stupid chain email". But, you cannot use email as a countable ...


25

'Software' is non-countable (like 'milk'). As a native American English-speaker who grew up with software (and a vested interest in it) and is nearing age 40, it seems like people who are quite computer literate and have been since before the age of smartphones will never say 'a software' or 'softwares' unless they're joking, or mis-educated, but native ...


22

I think coffee is better than coffees although either is possible. But pastries cannot be pastry because the latter usually means the dough used to make pastries. In Google News, "sell coffee" is much more productive than "sell coffees". There's zero hits for "sales are coffees", but there are two hits for "sales are coffee&...


20

In Britain, a loaf of bread would generally be anything big enough to be cut into multiple slices of bread, e.g. for making sandwiches. So this is a loaf, and at least the one on the left of this picture is a loaf. The items in the second picture that are small enough to be just 1 - 2 portions, would be rolls. Buns tend to be sweeter than rolls, although a ...


20

it is possible to have half a calorie, or 4.582394 calories It's also possible to have half a cow or 4.582394 cows. Indeed, the same is true for almost every countable noun that existed at the time when "fewer" came to be the word we used with countable nouns. Perhaps it's impossible to have half a thunderclap... This shows that it's a mistake to think ...


19

It depends on what meaning you intend to convey. Instruction   (ɪnˈstrʌkʃən) n. the act or practice of instructing or teaching; education. knowledge or information imparted. instruction. (n.d.) Random House Kernerman Webster’s College Dictionary. (2010). In your example, "further instruction" would denote the first ...


19

Being able to count (or not count) a concrete or abstract noun is not a criterion that determines its type. Some concrete nouns are countable: ✔ Look at that car. ✔ Look at those cars. Some concrete nouns are not countable: ✔ Help me with my luggage. ✘ Help me with my luggages. Some abstract nouns are countable: ✔ I made a mistake. ✔ I made ...


15

Some style guides presecribe "less" for uncountables and "fewer" for countables; however, historical precedent does not support this stricture, and in some contexts the countable "less" may even be preferred. One such context is when the word is applied to a number or quantity rather than to a group of countable things or amount of uncountable stuff. This ...


14

Dan Bron's comment (above) that e-mail/email at its inception was treated as a mass noun is correct—and so is Kristina Lopez's comment (above) that e-mail/email is widely applied today not just to the medium of electronic mail but to individual messages sent and received in that medium. For many years the technology magazines where I worked enforced a ...


13

Soap is both a countable and uncountable noun (i.e. a mass noun like milk). Usually, if you're in a grocery store, you'd ask: Where can I find soap? You could use the plural form, to convey that you're looking for a greater variety: Where can I find your soaps? I'm looking for something lavender-scented, or maybe a honey/butter mix. (Also see Grantly'...


12

As Catija mentions in the comments, "liquid" may be used both ways, as a non-count noun or as a count noun. Many nouns that are otherwise non-count (let's use "X" to stand for an example noun) may be used as count nouns with the implication being "a specific type of noncount noun X". This seems to apply to most words for states ...


12

Mass nouns can be converted to count nouns, and vice versa, but the example you give for "a sugar" is not likely to be heard from a native speaker. Despite the terminology, "count nouns" aren't only or even particularly used in situations where it is possible to count the number of objects. They can be used to refer to a vague or ...


11

You can buy a frozen pizza from a supermarket. (countable) If you have friends coming over for dinner then you might purchase three different types of pizzas. Napoli (anchovies and capers) Margherita (cheese and tomato) Quattro stagioni (four seasons) So now you have three frozen pizzas to take back home and cook in the oven. Once your friends arrive, ...


11

In my experience (I work as a cookbook editor), the ingredient itself is singular if only one of them is required to fill the quantity. For example, only one watermelon is required to fill two cups, so you'd write "2 cups watermelon" (as in your example). On the other hand, you'd need more than one watermelon to fill two barrels (unless the barrels are super ...


10

This may not not be strictly grammatical, but as a point of logic, I interpret it like this: "Types of thing" Here you're talking about types as belonging to a single grouping category. The concept is one of making a union. "Types of things" Here you're talking about a number of forms of a number of different categories. Or you're talking about the ...


10

Yes, you can say “I like apple” if you are talking about the fruit pulp, its texture or its taste; i.e. when it is uncountable. The same is true for any fruit, The median proportions of food types selected are shown in Figure 1 where it can be seen that both species [rats] tended to prefer banana and avocado to the other foods offered. (source) Infants ...


10

Here I think coffees would be best. Coffee, as an uncountable, refers to the liquid. Coffee in your case isn't that. In your case you are referring to a specific sales item—a cup containing the liquid. Your focus is on selling these individual units. You could also say "he sells a lot of coffee." But this is really more a figurative usage—a ...


9

In sociology/social work, youth is a gender-neutral term referring to people in their teenage years (especially the late teenage years) and their early twenties. It is especially common in the phrases at-risk youth and homeless youth. I spent some time writing about the child welfare system in a state where people were eligible for services up to age 21. I ...


8

As a Brit, I would consider all the following vegetables and fruits to be count nouns: peas, beans, radish, tomato, cucumber, carrot, onion, pepper, courgette, avocado, aubergine, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, ... Although radishes, tomatoes, carrots, onions, potatoes, etc. are not usually sold individually, they are discrete items that can be ...


8

"Hundred" is not plural! It is singular. You have one hundred. Hence the "a" ( or "one"). Consider: I saw a hundred birds today. I saw two hundred birds today. I saw three hundred birds today. Also: I saw a dozen birds today. I saw twelve birds today.


8

As a native American English speaker with lots of family who are native British English speakers: No, neither of these uses are common in AmE or BrE (I can't be certain of Australian English, but I highly doubt these are commonly used there either), however there are specific instances where they are ... not necessarily incorrect. That doesn't however mean ...


7

"Time" can mean either the passage of time e.g. "time waits for no man", or an occasion or moment e.g. "we had a great time last night" . The passage of time is not countable, but occasions or moments are countable. Other languages have different words for these which may be less confusing, e.g. in Portuguese, tempo often refers to time as in the passage ...


7

All the time means constantly, continually. Time in this sense is not countable. Every means each, or all events, (countable); but not always (unless we use an idea like every moment of every day). If I cry every time Mount Vesuvius erupts, (without exception, but never in my lifetime) and you cry all the time (never stopping), you cry a lot more than I ...


7

While calories are continuous to scientists, most lay people don't think of them that way. Food and activity calories are always reported in whole numbers, often only precise to hundreds or thousands, because for most people's purposes any more accuracy is not meaningful or useful. So in common use we treat them as discrete units, and the language we use ...


6

“I like (noun)” works fine if and only if the noun is either mass or plural. “I like cat” is entirely grammatical if and only if cat, not being plural, is read as a mass noun, that is, as referring to a substance, viz. the muscle tissue of one or more members of the family felidae, regarded, treated, cooked, and eaten as meat. If you ...


6

A lot of things means a large number (plural) of things, hence you will use a plural noun (unless the noun is uncountable, then singular). A lot of apples, a lot of chairs, a lot of questions, (but a lot of water, a lot of sand). Lots is just the plural form of lot. And so more than one set of a large number of things is, well, still a large number of ...


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