Does the word fishing line have a plural? Wikipedia says that there is a plural, and in the Longman Dictionary it is uncountable.

There are no articles in similar sentences:

  1. Canada Goose Entangled in (the/a) fishing line
    Humpback Whale Entangled in (the/a) Fishing Line

but there is an article when defining the word:

  1. A fishing line is a cord used or made for angling.
  • 2
    Humpback Whale Entangled in Fishing Line looks more like a caption or a title than a sentence. Don't try to learn grammar from titles and headlines. – J.R. Feb 21 '19 at 15:45
  • Here, too, the article is used.: "Where do you put the bobber on a fishing line?" – Boyep Feb 21 '19 at 15:55
  • 1
    It would be better to include an example like that one in your question (not in a comment), while also telling us where it comes from (rather than depending on assumptions and guesswork). – J.R. Feb 21 '19 at 16:21

There are lots of words that can be countable or uncountable depending on context. Fishing line is like "wire" and "thread" here. If you have a whole spool of it, it's uncountable: "We need to use fishing line (wire, thread) for this project."

If you cut a piece off, and start to use it (maybe for fishing), it can become countable: "A fishing line in the water is transparent, and the fish can't see it." "We solder a wire between that pin and ground." "There is a thread hanging from your coat."

In its countable sense "fishing line" has a plural form, "fishing lines."

  • Very clearly and concisely put. – SamBC Feb 21 '19 at 16:56
  • Also, as to context, the lack of article referring to goose/whale establishes the use of countable/uncountable, since it clearly refers to geese or whales in general. The rather telegraphic style of the examples suggests use as captions for photographs. – WhatRoughBeast Feb 21 '19 at 18:20

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