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Dictionary says "Our van runs on (= uses) diesel.".

Similarly, can we say?

  • "my phone runs on battery" and "my phone uses battery"

  • "the fan runs on electricity" and "the fan uses electricity"

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    The phone runs on electricity too - the battery is just the means of storing the electricity. You can say 'My phone uses a battery' or 'is powered by a battery'. – Kate Bunting May 22 at 8:59
  • Where have you read my phone runs on battery? – FeliniusRex May 23 at 0:20
  • @KateBunting, "battery" (uncountable) also means "electrical power that comes from a battery" (oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/definition/english/…). For example, "my phone ran out of battery". The question is why I can't say "my phone runs on battery"? – Tom May 24 at 10:31
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    I suppose my phone ran out of battery is just an informal way of saying the battery in my phone ran out of power. There is no logical reason why we don't say my phone runs on battery - we just don't. – Kate Bunting May 24 at 12:02
  • You need to specify BrE up there in the question. Otherwise you will get questions and advice from people who never say my phone ran out of battery. – FeliniusRex May 26 at 20:38
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The phone runs on electricity too - the battery is just the means of storing the electricity. You can say 'My phone uses a battery' or 'is powered by a battery'. – Kate Bunting

Or you can say "My phone runs on electricity".

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  • converting a comment – James K May 22 at 11:56
  • Just to add some explanation of why: electricity is a mass noun, so you use it in the singular with no article. Battery is a count noun, so you could say your phone runs on a battery, and your TV remote control, which uses two batteries at the same time, runs on batteries. – tea-and-cake May 23 at 23:32
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    @tea-and-cake, but "battery" is uncountable too when it means "electrical power that comes from a battery" (oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/definition/english/…). For example, "my phone ran out of battery" – Tom May 24 at 10:29
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    Very good point @Tom, I was thinking the same myself after I posted that. You could also have "my hybrid car has run out of fuel and is now running on battery". – tea-and-cake May 24 at 11:44
  • By the way, @tea-and-cake this is a community wiki, so if you want to add some explanation of "why" just click edit – James K May 24 at 19:42

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