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As I know, it's not correct to use singular countable nouns without "the" or "a" or "my, your" etc. but especially in the sentence below, although the second option is grammatically right, I don't think it sounds natural. Maybe just because I'm Turkish and we usually use singular nouns when making general statements. So which is the best way to express this statement? The first one, the second one or another way that I didn't mention?

  1. Most children spend a lot of time on computer. Similarly, parents are using computer a lot especially at work.
  2. Most children spend a lot of time on computers. Similarly, parents are using computers a lot especially at work.
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    (1) is definitely wrong. Speaking of computers in general, you can use either computers or the computer. (A noun preceded by the definite article can mean 'that thing in general'.) Commented Feb 6, 2022 at 17:55
  • Also, note that a singular count-noun doesn't always require a determiner. For example: "Joe Biden, president of the United States, gave a speech yesterday." That "rule" has several exceptions. (However, you're correct that in this sentence singular "computer" would require a determiner.) Commented Feb 7, 2022 at 9:55

2 Answers 2

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  1. Is wrong, as you know. A determiner or article is required for countable nouns

  2. Is correct (as you know) and natural enough. I might try to avoid the repetition of "a lot", and I might change the verb from "are using" to "use" (this is a general fact, not an event in progress)

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If it was not clear from the other answer and comments how best to fix the first sentence without using the plural "computers" here are two options:

Most children spend a lot of time on a computer. Similarly, parents are using a computer a lot, especially at work.

or

Most children spend a lot of time on the computer. Similarly, parents are using the computer a lot, especially at work.

The first option is possibly the more grammatically correct since technically we aren't referring to a particular computer, but for some reason the second sounds more natural to my ears (I'm a native English speaker from America for context).

The most natural to me is to use the plural (your option 2), but that is subjective.

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