I wrote:

Figure 1 shows a single piece pallet car.

Suppose there is a train of pallet cars called traveling grate [you may refer to this question], but I want to point an isolated one which is not in the train to show its structure...

Can I use piece this way? or it is just for uncountable words like information, equipment...

My question is actually two parts, one about the usage of "piece" and one about a word for a piece of equipment detached from a bigger structure consisting of several of them.

  • I don't understand the question here. A single piece pallet presumably means a pallet made from one "continuous" piece (i.e. - it can't be dismantled into multiple component parts). So one could apply single-piece pallet (I prefer the hyphen) adjectivally to a "car / cart" specifically designed to transport such pallets. But where does "uncountable words" fit in? It's logically impossible to interpret single [uncountable noun] - if [noun] can't be counted, how could you have a single one of it? Commented Sep 1, 2016 at 14:01
  • ...or maybe a single piece pallet means a pallet designed to carry a single piece. But the same point applies that it must be possible to count anything capable of being modified by single. Commented Sep 1, 2016 at 14:03
  • 1
    It's still not 100% clear to me what you mean by "single piece". It's obviously not a pallet made from a single piece of material, but it could still be a pallet that carries a single piece of something. On the other hand, perhaps what you mean is one "pallet car" (a pallet with wheels, which could be called a "car" in the context of "rolling stock"). If that's what you mean you could call it a single pallet car (without piece). Or use any of various alternative adjectives such as lone, unattached, solitary, detached, isolated, disconnected, etc. Commented Sep 1, 2016 at 14:21
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    When I read "single piece pallet car" it sounds to me like "pallet car which is made of a single piece". I think the phrase you want is just "a single pallet car" or maybe "a detached pallet car".
    – stangdon
    Commented Sep 1, 2016 at 14:28
  • 2
    Or simply, "Figure 1 shows a pallet car". You could add the word "typical" if you believe your audience is easily confused and needs to have their hands held at every step.
    – TimR
    Commented Sep 1, 2016 at 14:37

1 Answer 1


In this case, the pallet car is the single unit and the train is the composite formed from several units, so you can omit the word 'piece' entirely

...a single pallet car ...

Where the larger structure is the normal unit you would need to include the word 'of'

a single piece (or part) of the travelling grate

Remember to include the definite article (the) as well since the grate is countable.

A piece of the puzzle.
A piece of chocolate.

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