I wonder if the word flood can be used as a flood. I think the word like water cannot be used as a water because it is a collective noun.

In my dictionary, it writes both countable and uncountable. But I'm not sure how I can use them apart. All the example sentences use the flood or floods or a [adjective] flood.

So when can the word flood be used as a flood and if so, when should I use it, instead of the uncountable form flood?

2 Answers 2


When I saw your question, I had the opposite problem: I couldn't think of a case where "flood" would be uncountable! We wouldn't (for example) say "there is some flood coming", or "how much flood is there?"

Here are examples of normal usage, all countable:

There's a bad flood coming after all of this rain.

A flood of customers rushed in as soon as we opened the doors.

We've had two floods in the last six months.

There are only a few situations where "flood" is uncountable, and these are quite fixed in form. For example:

There is a high chance of flood.

I am not insured against flood.

  • There's also in flood.
    – user3395
    Commented Mar 24, 2019 at 10:30
  • @userr2684291: Yes, but that's quite idiomatic—you can't use it productively of just any word. The river can be "in flood", and the flowers "in bloom", but the sky can't be "in rain", nor a person "in walk". I'm not sure how to parse it anyway: is it a noun? an adjective? some use of the verb "to flood"? Commented Mar 24, 2019 at 11:18
  • 1
    @userr2684291: Eh, I'm still not convinced about "in flood". But you're right about examples in Michael Harvey's answer; I've changed mine to say I "couldn't" (not "can't") think of uncountable cases. I still reckon countable is much more common! Commented Mar 24, 2019 at 14:02
  • 1
    merriam-webster.com/dictionary/in%20flood says you can also say in full flood. Full is an adjective which modifies the noun flood. You wouldn't say the river is in fully flood, which excludes the adverb, adjective, and verb interpretations.
    – user3395
    Commented Mar 24, 2019 at 14:19
  • 1
    @userr2684291: That's a really good point. You've convinced me. Commented Mar 24, 2019 at 14:21

When a noun has count and non-count uses, we generally use the non-count meaning when discussing the noun as a general thing: there is danger of flood after heavy rain or when a river is blocked; fire is a problem if you have a wooden house; there is a risk of famine when crops fail. We would use the count meaning to discuss a particular instance of the thing: the flood of 1956, a house fire in my street, the Bengal famine of 1943.

Of the 28 million properties in the UK, more than five million are at risk of flood (1 in 6)

If my location had a flood, I would hope to be safe.


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