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, ...


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

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

'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

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 *...


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

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.


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 example ...


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

I'm a strong proponent of data as a mass noun, taking the singular in grammatical usage ("the data shows us something"). Use of data as a plural ("the data show us...") seems pretentious and pedantic, as if to make a show of your knowledge that in Latin, data is a plural form of datum. I have several reasons for being stubborn about data as a mass noun: ...


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

This is an example of a well-established countification process for (some) mass nouns. Below is a minor elaboration of the last comment on the answer linked above. It's an ordinary example of how efficient language is in using resourses. Why waste a perfectly good plural suffix when it can be used to signal something else, like diversity of type (15 paints ...


12

There is nothing wrong with the word "fruits". However, "fruit" is used in various ways, and some of them have some overlap with the ways "fruits" is used. What’s “acceptable” seems like a matter of opinion. I just go with what sounds natural to me. “fruits” as uncountable noun with plural verb agreement The plural form “fruits” ...


12

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

Quantifying is not the same as counting.* You can say "2 litres of water", but that doesn't mean it's countable (it's not). Similarly, you can say "2 GB of RAM", but not "I need 2 RAMs in my phone": it's not countable. That's why you don't ask "how many RAMs do I need for this?", but rather: How much RAM do I need? The word "GB" is obviously countable, ...


11

Feedback, as you acknowledge, is not a countable noun. Therefore, to indicate plurality it is necessary to attach it to something that does have a plural form. Feedback from 14 sources (or respondents, participants, etc. Fourteen feedback messages Fourteen instances of feedback I do see some indications online (blogposts and the like) that feedback may be ...


10

Original 2015 post I think your definition of toast is equivalent to toast sandwich. When I put jam or cheese onto toast I don't call the whole thing toast, just the part that was originally bread. In fact I call it jam and toast or cheese on toast. To me, your pictures show slices of toast with things on them, except for the Italian toast which is a ...


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