Most teachers in India say chalk piece or a chalk piece instead of a piece of chalk.

I know that chalk is uncountable and the correct usage is a piece of chalk.

But I have read in certain books that a chalk piece is also acceptable.

I would like to know whether the use is found only in India or it is also found even in native English speaking countries?

Is the usage a chalk piece acceptable in modern English even in speech?

  • 1
    Hi, I don’t agree with the genera statement that “most teachers say chalk piece … instead of “a piece of chalk.” Do you mean “most teachers” in your country? As an American, I’ve never heard this phrase. It is not idiomatic in U. S. English. Sep 16, 2019 at 11:08
  • @whiskeychief.You might have understood from my question in the end that it was teachers in India.However, I will edit it. Sep 16, 2019 at 11:49

2 Answers 2


When I read "chalk piece", I had never heard it and guessed at a piece of art drawn in chalk.

I am British and I would say

"I write on the blackboard with/using chalk"
"use the chalk"
"use the red chalk" (or any other colour)
"I love drawing in chalk"

so chalk does not currently need any adjustment the word chalk unless you are explicitly talking about geography or gardening means writing chalk.

I say currently as kids no longer use blackboards/ chalk in school, so this might change in the next generation.


Read attributive nouns where nouns, in special cases, serve as an adjective.

Say, football team player where all are nouns.

In a chalk piece, a is applied to piece and not chalk.

All in all, a chalk piece is valid.

Now, the question is edited, and so is my answer.

In InE, it is very common and you hear it from almost all teachers including English trainers! As I said, it can be considered as a case of attributive noun and is for sure grammatical.

Nevertheless, as other native speakers stated here, it is not idiomatic in the US/UK English but I'm sure that the meaning is conveyed undoubtedly.

  • 5
    I agree that it's valid, but in the areas of the United States where I grew up, we always said "a piece of chalk." Of course nowadays it's all whiteboards or smart boards anyway!
    – TypeIA
    Sep 16, 2019 at 6:30
  • 5
    We always said a 'piece of chalk' in Britain, too, or possibly a 'stick of chalk'. You could get a 'box of chalks' from the stationery store. Nobody ever said a 'chalk piece'. I am talking here about the cylindrical sticks of chalk used by teachers to write on blackboards. Sep 16, 2019 at 7:28
  • in InE, it is said that way. @MichaelHarvey
    – Maulik V
    Sep 16, 2019 at 8:36
  • @MaulikV The asker is asking about countries where English is spoken natively. A tiny percentage of people in India speak English natively, and no one would consider it an anglophone country in that regard. There's no reason to prefer the version used by native speakers in the US or UK if everyone uses chalk piece where you are, however. The same would be true if people surrounding you called it piece chalk or a chalk or carrot or whatever. But if you're communicating with native speakers of English, it'd be appropriate to use the version they understand.
    – user3395
    Sep 16, 2019 at 12:27
  • 1
    When people talk about English, they normally mean Standard English. Indian English for the most part (and for the majority of people) doesn't qualify. In modern English, i.e. Standard English spoken in modern times, it's not "acceptable" to use a chalk piece. It might be "acceptable" in your modern variety of non-standard English, nonetheless. It's "acceptable" in standard English to the same degree that a chalk is "acceptable", or a carrot, when used to refer to a piece of chalk.
    – user3395
    Sep 16, 2019 at 12:38

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