142

If you use an article with advice you have to use a counter: A friendly piece of advice. A friendly bit of advice. No one who is competent in English would say A friendly advice. [Wrong!] To omit the article, competent speakers would say Some friendly advice.


75

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, ...


61

Dear reader: I'm going to offer you a little friendly advice. When checking to see if something is "grammatical," do not rely on a Google search. Google will return hits from blogs and message boards, which are not necessarily reliable sources for determining correct English. Google will also return other odd nuggets, such as a fraction of a user's handle. ...


51

If you wanted to take the preferred grammatical form, I would go with WS2's answer: Too many pills and too much liquor. However, as Barmar mentions in the comments, pills and liquor can be informally used as one big non-quantitative noun, and therefore much would be the correct word to use: Too much pills and liquor.


31

On the topic of a friendly advice having 1,070,000 hits - some friendly advice gets 137,000,000 hits. In other words, the 1,070,000 million, despite the impresive number of digits, is a fraction of 1% of the total and therefore 1,070,000 mistakes. Ngram confirms this. Advice is uncountable, so it should be be "some friendly advice", which is reflected in ...


29

The word toast in the sense of "toasted bread" is an English coinage from the early 15th century and originally referred to bread that was added to wine or ale for flavour (and possibly to soak up the dregs). In that context, a mass noun made more sense than a countable one, since toast didn't come in slices. It was only in the 17th century that toast ...


28

I feel this should be a comment, but there wouldn't be enough room, and the formatting [slightly amended] would be impossible. From Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary (perhaps the only US dictionary providing the breakdown): drink noun; plural drinks Learner's definition of DRINK 1: a liquid that you can drink : beverage [count] We ...


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 ...


26

Because information is a mass noun, i.e. uncountable. In the same way you would say give me all the water in your bucket, rather than give me all the waters... For discrete items of information, you could use facts.


26

The "someone" you have been speaking to is RIGHT. The OED has numerous uncountable senses of the noun drink, some from as early as 888CE. In the English spoken in the United Kingdom you will hear He brought drink to the party used, every day of the week - well -er as often as there is a party, anyway. I am frankly astonished that it is rarely used as an ...


25

Your example sentence is fine. The plural of fruit is fruits. You are confused over the matter of countable and uncountable nouns. This is tricky to explain, because there are few strict rules about which nouns are countable and uncountable, so I will hope you will forgive this over-simplified account: Some nouns (e.g. chair) are countable. We can say "...


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 ...


20

None is indeed originally from not one or not a/an (since this happened before one and a/an became separate words, c.f. how French uses un/une for both the number one, and the indefinite article). At the time that this happened though, it could be declined according to gender, number and case. King Alfred's translation of Boëthius' Consolatio Philosophiae (...


20

Yes, the pattern that you mention is true. The reason for the difference is that "iron" is considered to be a so-called mass noun, or "uncountable". When you say something like "The dog is an animal" or "The corkscrew is a useful invention" etc, what you are basically saying is "Any prototypical example of a dog/corkscrew is...". In other words, for the ...


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 ...


19

Both much and many can be used, but which is appropriate depends on whether the noun they're referring to is countable or not. With countable nouns, use many more or many fewer: I had many more bananas than Tom. I had many fewer nickels than Alice. With uncountable nouns, use much more or much less How much more fiber does a banana have than an ...


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

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 ...


18

Its uncountable for the same reason bread is uncountable. You commonly get bread (or toasted bread) in slices for convenience of eating, and its the slice that matters there as a quantifiable item. If you want to refer to the unsliced bread, then you still have to quantify it in some way - either as loaves or as weight. So "a toast" (when referring to bread)...


17

I would say Too many pills and too much liquor. I think you will find that to be the preferred grammatical form.


16

When I program objects, I usually refer to them as "object instances". For example, "all Dog instances are instructed to bark()" (or something on those lines). You could similarly say "Advice instances". It's clearer (immediately notifies the reader that you're referring to multiple object instances), grammatical, and allows you to format the name of the ...


16

Because there is no such thing as a plural meaning of information. It’s not a count noun. Information is a mass noun, like air or water or rice or flour or courage. Or news. You can only have less information, never *fewer information. You can only have more information, never *many information. And you can only have information, never several of *...


15

This is intended as a clarification of the "correctness" of using data as a mass noun, for those strict-minded sticklers (there's plenty of them) who might be unconvinced by Kosmonaut's "languages borrow words and do whatever they want with them": 1 - "Datum" and "data (plural)" are historically correct, so "data (mass noun)" must be wrong. How can "data" ...


15

It is perfectly acceptable to use the plural of non-count nouns when discussing multiple different types of something. Here are some examples, using milks: Daily tests of the butterfat contents of the three milks showed much wider variations ... The season's results of the casein analysis of the three milks are shown ... Fish and fishes is another ...


13

Is "Just a friendly advice" grammatical? Assuming you meant "grammatical" in its "grammatically correct" form, then... no. It isn't. Advice is a non-countable noun and, as such, "an advice" is invalid. Injecting the adjective "friendly" does not change that. Here are some correct equivalents: Just a friendly piece of advice. Just a friendly bit of advice....


13

I know why you’re confused. The plural of the noun analysis /əˈnæləsɪs/ is analyses /əˈnæləsiːz/. Since the noun has a plural form, it is a count noun not an uncountable one. The singular of the verb analyse /ˈænəˌlaɪz/ is also spelled analyses — but now that spelling is suddenly pronounced /ˈænəˌlaɪzəz/, which is quite different from the plural noun’s ...


12

Both sentences are grammatically correct, but in general the first is true and the second false. “Sedimentary rock” refers to sedimentary rock structures or sedimentary rocks in general; “sedimentary rocks” refers to pieces of sedimentary rock. The first statement suggests that fossils may be found in sedimentary rock, which typically is so. The second ...


12

Beware broad-brush approaches, even if you find a dictionary offering the count - uncount classification. Some - perhaps many - nouns are non-count in some senses and count in others. Coffee is a good example - its basic sense is uncount: Coffee is a drink made by infusing the ground beans of Coffea arabica etc. Too much coffee can be bad for you. ...


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