I am writing an essay that has this clause:

Due to the flight of human and physical capitals as a result of lower transportation costs,...

It gave me a pause because I realize "capital" in this sense is uncountable. But given the context is about two different types of capital, should "capital" be pluralized? I am thinking other uncountable words like "beer" and "water". People say "give me two beers" or "I'd like three waters".

1 Answer 1


I can understand the confusion, but no, 'capital' is still uncountable, even if you have two different kinds of capital.

Your example of 'beers' and 'waters' is very interesting, because of course you're correct in that case. Maybe the difference is that what people are really saying is 'two glasses of beer'. The bartender might also say, 'We have two beers', meaning Budweiser and Guinness. What she means in that case is 'two brands of beer'.

You could counter my argument by saying that you're just talking about two types of capital, which would be a good argument. At that point I'd have to say that you have a great point but just take if from me as a native speaker, we don't use the word 'capital' in the same way we use the word 'beer' or 'water' in this context.

If anybody can come up with a better reason why the rule applies to 'capital' and not to 'beer' I'll gladly change my answer.

The word 'money' is commonly used as an uncountable noun. If you had two different kinds of money in your pocket you would say, 'I have Mexican and Canadian money'. However it is used correctly in financial and legal language in the other way. It's not incorrect to write about 'monies' being paid in those contexts.

I'm sure you're pulling your hair out at this point. I realize that English makes no sense sometimes!

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .