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How to distinguish countable and uncountable nouns? How can temper be counted here?

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  • It's countable. Their scientific tempers are cultivated. Jun 16, 2020 at 15:48
  • You would be better off with the word temperament: a scientific temperament. Temper today is only used for good/bad temper.
    – Lambie
    Apr 30, 2021 at 20:11
  • It's a terrible sentence. The importance . . . is needed ? May 5 at 7:28

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The word "temper" itself, in this sense, isn't countable. When you qualify it with the adjective "scientific", it is countable and it is distinct from other "tempers", for example, "an unscientific temper", "a religious temper", or any number of other "tempers" that might be named.

This site discusses the use of indefinite articles with uncountable nouns:
Macmillan "uncountable with 'a'"
"... when you are qualifying or limiting the noun’s meaning in some way."

As a side note, searching for the words "scientific temper" shows that it is an expression used mostly in India. Other English-speaking countries would probably use "scientific temperament" instead, but the meaning is the same.

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  • The word "temper" itself, in this sense, isn't countable. (...) or any number of other "tempers" that might be named. Jun 16, 2020 at 23:13
  • @BruceMurray Exactly. "Other" tempers, "named tempers" are qualified and limited terms, and not uncountable, as explained in the reference. For example, "many types of bread" can be expressed as "many breads", but without that framework it is silly to say "I'll have three breads". Jun 17, 2020 at 0:06
  • The term she needs is temperament, not temper, gentlemen.
    – Lambie
    Apr 30, 2021 at 20:12

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