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In the following sentence from Interchange 2 Teacher's book page T-226:

They have plenty of room and I'm sure they'll be happy to have guests.

I think the word room does not refer to space and it is a synonym for bedroom. If I'm right then why it uses plenty of room and not plenty of rooms!?

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    In your sentence (not 'phrase').the word 'room' refers to space available for guests, and is not a synonym for 'bedroom'. Aug 11, 2020 at 21:33
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    We don't have to, because 'room' here does refer to space and is therefore uncountable. We would say They have plenty of apples. Aug 12, 2020 at 8:05

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"Plenty of" is used with either a non-count/uncountable noun or a plural noun. For example, "plenty of water" (water is a non-count noun) or "plenty of sandwiches" ("sandwiches" is a plural count noun).

"Plenty of" is not used with a bare singular count noun. When you see "plenty of" used with a bare singular noun, it's a sign that the noun is being used as a non-count noun.

They have plenty of room and I'm sure they'll be happy to have guests.

Here "room" is being used as a non-count noun. It is not a synonym for "bedroom", which is a count noun.

In other, less common situations, "plenty of" can be used with a singular count noun that is preceded by a determiner

Actually, I remember now that there is a situation where "plenty of" can be used with a singular count noun, but it isn't common and it doesn't apply to examples like your quote.

If the singular count noun is preceded by a determiner (like "a", "the", "this", or a possessive like "my"), it is technically possible for it to be used after "plenty of". A determiner plus a singular count noun constitutes a noun phrase, and it is grammatically possible to put this kind of noun phrase after "plenty of".

Examples:

In these examples, a singular noun phrase is used to refer to a specific type of flower or specific type of component. Saying "plenty of native wildflowers" or "plenty of components" would be grammatical, but wouldn't express that the speaker is talking about plenty of one specific type of these things. But this is a fairly rare use of "plenty of": most of the time, it's used with a noun that is non-specific and indefinite.

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If the noun is uncountable, then it usually doesn't have a plural. For example, you would say:

We have plenty of salt.

We have plenty of food.

We have plenty of air.

BUT, if it's a countable noun, you would use its plural. For example, you would say:

We have plenty of spare bedrooms.

We have plenty of books.

We have plenty of computers.

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This is a bad example, as the word 'room' here has two different plurals... and is in the plural here. The first plural is with 's', as 'rooms', and refers to rooms as distinct, countable units... one room, two rooms, three rooms... The plural here 'room' is uncountable... there can be no 'one' or 'two' rooms, there is only 'more' or 'less' or 'enough' or 'not enough' room.

So, "Is there room in the box for this book?" vs "we have two rooms in our office".

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    "room" is singular. For instance, "There is room", not "There are room". Aug 12, 2020 at 5:15
  • @Acccumulation You are perfectly correct that 'room' takes the singular form of the verb. However 'room' used here is like 'sand' as opposed to 'grains of sand'... it is a singular form with a plural meaning because it is considered 'uncountable'. Aug 12, 2020 at 20:40
  • "Uncountable nouns Uncountable nouns are for the things that we cannot count with numbers. They may be the names for abstract ideas or qualities or for physical objects that are too small or too amorphous to be counted (liquids, powders, gases, etc.). Uncountable nouns are used with a singular verb. They usually do not have a plural form." ef.com/ca/english-resources/english-grammar/… Aug 12, 2020 at 20:42
  • Exactly. "They usually do not have a plural form". It is misleading to refer to the uncountable form as "plural", as you do in your answer, because there is nothing plural about it either morphologically or syntactically.
    – Colin Fine
    Aug 12, 2020 at 20:52
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    @VaughnOhlman: I have now read the article, and I see nothing that says that an uncountable noun "is a plural".
    – Colin Fine
    Aug 12, 2020 at 22:57

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