0

This is from an English conversation in a doctor's office and the patient says:

I have this itchy red rash on my neck.

The expression "red rash" caught my attention.

I looked up "rash" on Collins Dictionary Rash, and it seems countable and is defined: A rash is an area of red spots that appears on your skin when you are ill or have a bad reaction to something that you have eaten or touched.

So, I understand that "rash" does not refer to one of those tiny single spots but it refers to all of those tiny red spots on an area on skin. And it is red in colour.

So, I have two questions:

  1. Since rash is countable and the patient obviously has many of those tiny things on his skin, should the patient not have said "....these rashes..." instead of "....this rash..."?

  2. Is simply saying "rash" is not enough, and should one specifically say the colour "...red rash..."?

3
  • 4
    "I looked up "rash", and it seems countable and is defined: A rash is an area of red spots..." Where did you look it up? The M-W definition doesn't say anything about red. The dictionary.com entry doesn't say anything about red. The MedicineNet definition doesn't say anything about red. Please don't just look at one dictionary and assume that it is complete and correct.
    – stangdon
    Feb 16, 2023 at 18:20
  • 2
    @stangdon - I have seen, heard of, or read about rashes that are white, pink, purple, brown or green. Feb 16, 2023 at 18:28
  • @stangdon, I have looked it up on Collins and updated the question with the link. Here is the link: collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/rash
    – Yunus
    Feb 16, 2023 at 19:25

2 Answers 2

2

1- Since rash is countable and the patient obviously has many of those tiny things on his skin, should the patient not have said "....these rashes..." instead of "....this rash..."?

No, if the patient goes to the doctor with a rash, it is one rash. If that rash is cleared up and then another one breaks out on his skin, that's another rash. So now the patient has had two rashes in/over some period of time.

When referring to them (those occurrences of a rash), the patient would then say:
"These rashes I've had over the last three months" etc.

2- Is simply saying "rash" not enough, and should one specifically say the colour "...red rash..."?

rashes are often but not always red.

What are the symptoms of a rash? Many rashes are itchy, red, painful, and irritated and can exhibit discolored bumps; flat spots or areas; or intact or crusted over pus-filled blisters/bumps.

Color: The range of color of a skin rash can be light or dark red, white, pink, purple, or black. It can also be the same color as the person’s skin tone. rashes

And people don't always say a red rash when referring to one they have. They may or may not use the word red.

3
  • 1
    I'm not convinced that if someone had a rash on their scalp and a rash on the top of their foot it would necessarily be referred to as one rash when they visited the doctor. If it seemed like it was caused by the same thing (like poison oak) it would be one rash. A patient could come in covered rashes if the rashes were different somehow. Maybe they were simultaneously exposed to poison oak and some sort chemical. Only having one rash is the most common situation though.
    – ColleenV
    Feb 16, 2023 at 19:23
  • @ColleenV One rash of the same type that breaks out at two different places on the body. And patients do not usually show covered in rashes of a different type.
    – Lambie
    Feb 17, 2023 at 14:41
  • 1
    Yes. It is far more common that a patient only has one rash. However, it is not impossible that a patient has two different rashes in one doctor visit. Yes, my overly literal brain annoys me too lol ;)
    – ColleenV
    Feb 17, 2023 at 15:09
5

The phrase "this itch red rash" would more likely be "itchy red rash", since "itch" is a noun, while "itchy" is an adjective.
"Rash" is a lesion of some extent across an area of skin. A separate tiny bump doesn't make a rash. Only if there were well separated areas of lesion would they be called separate rashes. Rashes do not necessarily need to be red.

AHD rash

  1. A visible lesion or group of lesions on the skin, caused by any of numerous factors including infectious agents, drugs, and allergies.

(The rash is visible, but not necessarily red.)

AHD lesion

  1. Any of various pathological or traumatic changes in a bodily organ or tissue, including tumors, ulcers, sores, and wounds.
3
  • thanks. It should have been "itch" rather than "itch". It is a typo. I corrected it. So, you think "I have this itchy rash..." is correct, isn't it?
    – Yunus
    Feb 16, 2023 at 18:19
  • 1
    Yes, it could be "red, itchy rash" or "itchy red rash". The main point is that to be plural rashes, they would have to be well separated, and probably different phenomena. Feb 16, 2023 at 18:22
  • 1
    Very strange. I was going to comment that an itchy red [whatever] sounds far more idiomatic than ...red itchy..., and I confidently ran off this NGram chart fully expecting it to back me up. And I was really surprised to discover that although my preferred version is currently three times more common (even more in reality, since some of the other version will be citing older texts), that other version was totally dominant back in the 1800s. Feb 16, 2023 at 18:55

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .