For example, if a banana is mostly rotten, I can describe it just as ‘a banana is rotten.’

Water gets frozen from the top. If the water is mostly frozen (not in degree, but in amount), can I describe it just as ‘water is frozen’?


1 Answer 1


When something is used as an uncountable noun it can refer to that substance in general.

For example:

Water is a compound of hydrogen and oxygen.

This statement is true of all water, everywhere.

So, you can't say "water is frozen", because that would mean all water everywhere is frozen, which it isn't.

"The water" refers to a specific quantity or body of water that you must have already identified. For example, if you were standing in front of a frozen lake you could say "the water is frozen" and it would be quite clear you meant the water in the lake.

Regarding your technical point that, when a lake freezes, not all of it freezes - what you said would depend on the level of detail the conversation demanded. In everyday conversation, "a frozen lake" would be one that was 'frozen over' - ie visibly frozen on top. When we want to say that something is completely frozen, the idiomatic expression is "frozen solid".

  • Then, sentence ‘water is mostly frozen’ is wrong?
    – user284747
    Commented Dec 10, 2021 at 10:53
  • @user284747 Yes, because not all water is frozen so you need to identify which water you are talking about, ie "the water in the lake". Water is a good example of a non-count noun. Any single quantity of water can be referred to as just "water". You can even abbreviate 'a glass of water' or 'a bottle of water' to 'a water', so it often behaves as if it is countable.
    – Astralbee
    Commented Dec 10, 2021 at 10:57

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