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People say

Give me a moment.

I will see you in a moment.

From what I've learned from Dictionary.com definitions, Moment doesn't seem to be a countable noun.

Why is "a" used with "moment" to mean a short period of time? I've never seen anyone saying, give me "two or three moments".

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  • I can't find any feature of Dictionary.com that might let me know whether a noun is countable or not. On the other hand, it's clear in Macmillan Dictionary (that moment is countable). Mar 10, 2015 at 15:20
  • As already said dictionary.com doesn't say anything about countable or uncountable, but they have exactly your example I'll see you in a moment.
    – rogermue
    Mar 10, 2015 at 17:53

2 Answers 2

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"Moment" is a countable noun, but its definition is of a very short period of time. "A" moment, "a few" moments, or "one or two" moments are all uses you might see. It would be grammatically correct to say "I need twenty moments," but it would also be illogical because it contradicts the definition of a "moment."

There is no specific rule for this. It is a case where the definition of the word affects how you may appropriately use it in a sentence. I would personally put the limit at "two" moments, and no more.

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  • "We had dozens of beautiful moments together" makes perfect sense (e.g. when talking about relationships) - it is not limited to two.
    – Polygnome
    Apr 20, 2016 at 16:34
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Yes, informally. Sort of.

I've heard people say 'give me two moments'. Grammatically it's fine, but people don't say "give me three moments" or "give me a hundred moments". Why is 'two moments' an exception? Because it sounds similar to when people say "give me two minutes" when they know they're going to be very quick (but may take longer than exactly two minutes). Because it's an idiom, it won't have consistent grammatical rules. That's why you can say "give me a few moments" but not "give me a lot of moments".

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