1) I've got a few bits of news. (OK?)

2) I've got a few bits of information. (OK?)

3) I've got a few bits of advice. (OK?)

4) I've got a few bits of apple. (What does it mean? Pulped apple? Diced apple?)

Any more?

  • Maybe it's just me but I don't really use this in the plural. I'd be more likely to say I've got some news/information/advice. – Catija Mar 10 '15 at 5:47
  • I am sorry, but what if you have two pieces of news? – user1425 Mar 10 '15 at 5:53
  • 1
    Two pieces is still some news... alternatively, I'd say I've got two pieces of news for you... or more likely, I've got two things to tell you (about). – Catija Mar 10 '15 at 5:54
  • Well, it is some news, but some news is ambiguous. It can mean either one pieces of news or more, while "two pieces of news" unequivocally means two pieces of news. – user1425 Mar 10 '15 at 6:00
  • 1
    None of your examples ever specified two, so I didn't understand why you were all of a sudden hung up on two. – Catija Mar 10 '15 at 6:08

Google Ngram Viewer shows: bits of information, paper, wood, food, evidence, glass, meat and iron. Ngrams is based on books, so different nouns may be common in speaking.

| improve this answer | |
  • #1 noun in the 17th century was "bits of flesh". – Tᴚoɯɐuo Mar 10 '15 at 20:00

The BBC quotes:

All of these nouns in English are uncountable, i.e. they refer to collections of things which we see as mass items and which cannot be counted separately. Although they have a plural meaning, most uncountable nouns like this (including information, administration, management, advice, accommodation) are singular with no plural form.

However, even though they are singular, we cannot normally use the indefinite article (a/an) with uncountable nouns and instead must use some/any/no, indicating plurality. To make an uncountable noun countable, we often use the construction 'a ___ of'.

So, it'll be...

I have got some news
Let me give you some advice / a piece of advice.

and so on.

You can say, "I have got some apple/s" if you don't want to say a particular number. Bits of apple sounds down to me.

| improve this answer | |

With "a few bits of *" in NGram, you're getting:

  • enter image description here

A few bits of:

  • information
  • the [various things, "the address" and "the data" being 'primary suspects']
  • paper
  • data
  • furniture
  • advice
  • wood
  • evidence
  • it
  • food

Note this is for complete corpus of English books - it will vary both with sub-corpus (e.g. neither "advice" nor "data" shows up in the first ten words of British) and with speech (no such corpus in NGram). And with phrasing, "the bits of...", etc.

| improve this answer | |
  • Corpus of Contemporary American English: INFORMATION 254 PAPER 106 DATA 73 METAL 68 GLASS 68 FOOD 52 FLESH 50 WOOD 43 MEAT 42 NEWS 42 BONE 38 HAIR 37 DNA 36 SHELL 34 ROCK 34 WISDOM 31 PLASTIC 31 KNOWLEDGE 31 EVIDENCE 31 BROKEN 29 DEBRIS 28 TISSUE 26 GRASS 25 . . . – Jim Reynolds Mar 10 '15 at 9:17

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.