As far as I know, 'spending' is a uncountable noun. In the Cambridge dictionary, it means 'the money that is used for a particular purpose, especially by a government or organization' and is labelled as uncountable. But there is a confusing sentence in which I am not sure whether the word is still uncountable, at least semantically.

There were decreases in spending on things such as books and on other workers' salaries.

It seems to me there are two sums of money, one for books and another for workers' salaries. Although I know 'spending' is a uncountable word, it's a bit weird for me. How should I understand this usage in the example? If I use the noun phrase in the following sentence, the verb is still singular, isn't it?

The spending on things such as books and on other workers' salaries is $2,000 and $3,000 respectively.

1 Answer 1


Because spending is, as you say, a non-count noun, I would not use it when referring to specific amounts of money (like $2,000 or $3,000). I would use a different word, for example:

The expenditures for things such as books and salaries are $2,000 and $3,000 respectively.

But in the given example sentence specific amounts were not listed, so "decreases in spending" is perfectly acceptable.

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