Questions tagged [countability]

"Countability" is a property of English nouns, which reflects whether or not they have a plural form.

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1answer
51 views

Do native speakers use this construction with numbers?

We often say something like "a million and two hundred dollars" or "ten thousand and fifty five dollars", which are the common ways to say such things. However, I remember a ...
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14 views

“Wage” vs “Wages”. Another use of “wages”

Laura was complaining for a wage. Laura was complaining for the wage. Which one would be correct?
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28 views

An uncountable noun can be counted when the context is clear?

Questions: (a) In a clear context, especially when telling the listener that there are types or versions of it, any uncountable noun can actually be counted, no matter what the uncountable noun is, ...
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20 views

“variety” definition is really confusing

I tried to figure out what is the difference between singular "variety" and countable "varieties". According to Cambridge there is a difference in meaning. Even the definition is ...
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24 views

Should I use an article in “extract text from document” phrases?

I am writing an article about the extraction of an entire text from a document. I am not sure if I should use "a", "the", or nothing in "extract text" phrases. Sample sentences: "How to extract text ...
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60 views

Can we say “He is a scum”?

According to dictionaries, "scum" can be used in countable or uncountable sense; but "He is a scum" sounds wrong to my ears. Can the sentences "He is a scum" and "He is scum" be used interchangeably?
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a chocolate vs some chocolate

Would you like a chocolate? (If I offer to taste one chocolate from a box.) Would you like some chocolate? (If I offer to taste a bar of chocolate.) Is it correct?
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73 views

Why is bread uncountable?

I'm a Persian, and we consider bread countable in Persian language. I wonder why is bread considered uncountable in English language?
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162 views

Livelihood vs livelihoods usage

I am really confused about the usage of livelihood and livelihoods in below sentences: "The falling orders for new ships mean that many shipyard workers are likely to lose their livelihood." "Many ...
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Use of indefinite article before “worsening”

Since worsening is an uncountable, singular noun according to the Cambridge dictionary, I dont know how an indefinite article comes before it. For example: " No one could have predicted such a ...
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41 views

“so much to do”

Why is it usually "so much to do" than "so many to do"? Isn't it "things to do"? I don't mind to think that a certain number of things can be considered as a certain amount of things, though the ...
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31 views

Need help with a list of quantifiers please

I'm trying to figure out if this list of quantifiers is countable, uncountable or both. I have marked them as either: C (COUNTABLE), UC (UNCOUNTABLE) or B (BOTH). I use the following simple (...
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40 views

have a friendship or have friendship

BBC: I have friendship with all the living beings The New York Times: I have multiple doormen and I have a friendship with one of them According to Cambridge, friendship is both countable and ...
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Is it wrong to say “what an irony is”?

Some rude person said my English was bad, because I said "I know what an irony is" instead of "I know what irony is". Although the second sounds better, I don't think the first is incorrect ...
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42 views

Which one is more used: tomato or tomatoes / strawberry or strawberries?

When asking "Do you like...?" or saying "I like or I don't like...", is it more idiomatic to put "tomato" or "strawberry" in the singular or in the plural?
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Article in the question “do you like”. With or without articles

Do you like hamburger or do you like a hamburger ? Do you like orange or do you like an orange ? Which one of these above is correct ? Do we have to use a / an/ the articles after "like" or not ?
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“articulated in limb”

A line from the movie A.I. Artificial Intelligence grates a bit with "articulated in limb". The artificial being is a reality of perfect simulacrum, articulated in limb, articulate in speech, and ...
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65 views

I am suffering from a headache

1. I am suffering from a headache. 2. I am suffering from toothache. 3. I am suffering from backache. According to Raymond Murphy headache is countable because it is common, while toothache, ...
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2k views

Water, a water and waters

1. Water boils at 100°c. 2. Still waters run deep. Based on the two sentences we can say that water is both uncountable and countable.If water is countable "a water" should be there as in the case ...
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Shall I use an article with the phrase “increasing trend”?

If I want to use the word increasing trend, shall I consider it countable or uncountable? i.e. should I write: With an increasing trend towards using the Internet, the need for security is becoming ...
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204 views

When do we use the plural form of infrastructure?

I looked up the dictionary and it seems there's no plural form for the noun. However, some people use the word infrastructure with an s at the end. Is there a reason for doing this or is it just a ...
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356 views

These or this two software?

When I type the following sentence, So, the engineers use these two software. MS Office Word wants to correct me as this two software Here I am referring two PC applications for example, ...
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5answers
9k views

Why is “deal 6 damage” a legit phrase?

I mean, if damage is countable, it should be Deal 6 damages. If it’s not countable, then this sentence should be wrong. Such as saying something like I drank 5 water. So... am I missing ...
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236 views

“everything”: is it “it” or “they”

Which pronoun should be used with "everything"? I tend to believe that the following is correct: I will do everything as soon as it can be done. but the following also makes sense, considering ...
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Is “set” countable or not?

This question comes from this post. This figure is trying to illustrate 4 spaces defined by 4 different set of standard basis. In mathematics, the standard basis (also called natural basis) for ...
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1k views

“in 60 seconds or less” or “in 60 seconds or fewer”?

Tell me please which sentence is correct. I want you to articulate your ideas in 60 seconds or less. I want you to articulate your ideas in 60 seconds or fewer. The word second is a countable ...
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1answer
28 views

Are these two “Code Snippets”?

people use "Code Snippet" or "Code Snippets" everywhere. "Code Snippet" is a term used to describe a small portion of re-usable source code, machine code, or text. following lines of code comes from ...
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2k views

'~ and many more.' vs. '~and much more.'

We have a grammar rule here. 'many more + a countable noun' and 'much more + an uncountable noun,' Right? But how about '~ and much more.' in the following sentence? Is it grammatically correct to ...
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56 views

Shouldn't it be “…garbage is dumped” instead of “are’?

Garbage is singular and I don't think quantity has something to do here. Woman: Talk dirty to me! Man: 14 billion pounds of garbage are dumped into the ocean every year. Most of it is plastic.
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countable counterpart of “fruit”

I was taught that the noun "fruit" is non-countable in English. If so, then what would be its countable counterpart? I am sure there should be one because the need for that is quite practical. Let'...
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39 views

migration - countable or uncountable

I found out that the word "migration" can be countable and uncountable according to oxford, but I didn't find any source explaining when to use countable or uncountable form. For example, is it ...
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2answers
72 views

How much shrimps?

if i want to ask about the amount of shrimps that a person eats (kilograms) per year, should i ask How many shrimps do you eat? - > I eat 1 kilo a year. Or maybe I should ask How much ...
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3answers
46 views

“as much as” or “as many as” forty degrees?

"the temperature can vary by as much as forty degrees" this sentence confused me, following as much as, there is plural word (forty degrees) but it was used with "as much as". Because there is a ...
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67 views

“Such plea” “such waiver”: ungrammatical legal jargon?

I have encountered the noun phrase "such plea" in a lot of legal texts. Examples: In federal courts, such plea may be accepted as long as there is evidence that the defendant is actually guilty. ...
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2answers
330 views

How (much/many) (note/notes) did you take?

When referring to information students write down in classes/lectures, we normally use the plural form of 'note' - 'notes' tends to be used. But I am not sure whether 'notes' is countable/uncountable ...
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282 views

Does “space” require an article?

We use "the" when there is only one of something. There's only one space. Therefore we have to say: There are millions of stars in the space. But I've seen that "space" is used without article. ...
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410 views

Development VS A development

This a brief description of a software project I was involved in: Project description: Development of market analysts's applications. [These applications allow you to ...] Is it correct to ...
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31 views

A problem regarding numbers

Meaning of the word ground is reason. But in the following sentence Despite governments bringing in legislation towards this end, they have been struck down on the grounds that the additional ...
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24 views

First “numbers” count nouns is plural or singular?

So I have this line of sentence: This only applies to the first 100 people signing up. When I see the word "applies", I am confused, is "first 100" plural, or singular? Or it should've been "apply"...
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“a little” with a countable noun? An example from a dictionary

I was looking into the difference between the countable and uncountable versions of the word "sleep" in the Cambridge dictionary online: [COUNTABLE] a period of sleeping: (UK) You must be ...
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217 views

Singular countable nouns after “there isn't any”

Can I ever use singular countable nouns after there isn't any? I have read many books that say any can be used with both singular and plural countable nouns. Though plural nouns is more more common in ...
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2answers
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How should I consider the word “scenery”

I think "scenery" is uncountable and the dictionary says it is. Nevertheless the sentence "What a beautiful scenery!" sounds correct to me. Should I rather say: "What some beautiful scenery!" ...
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162 views

“Different influences”?

Then trade would have different influence on wages and employment. This is a line I am writing. I know that "influence" is both a count and noncount noun and that it is used mostly uncountably to ...
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2answers
31 views

“Through critical engagement with philosophical texts” or “Through a critical engagement with philosophical texts”

Through (a) critical engagement with philosophical texts, I examine the phenomena and provide an in-depth analysis. This is a line I am writing. The noun "engagement" seems tricky. Scrolling down ...
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625 views

“Comment on their character” or “comment on their characters”?

I would like to say a few words to comment on their character(s). I am wondering if "character" in the sense of qualities of personality is a count noun and can be pluralized. Macmillan and Cambridge ...
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457 views

Is “prose” ever a count noun?

He writes a crystalline prose (source) I find this countable usage of "prose" from the Oxford Dictionaries very unusual. I have never seen "prose" used countably. In contrast, several dictionaries ...
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8k views

“past experience” or “past experiences”?

I need to learn from past experiences. It seems to me it makes sense to say "past experiences", since here experience refers an event that happened in the past. However, I do see a lot of occurrences ...
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103 views

Is “release” countable when used to mean “to let go” or “to make available”?

Is "release" a count noun or mass noun in the meaning of "let someone or something out of a place"? I see conflicting information from different dictionaries, even within the same dictionary. ...
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794 views

Have a good command of something – is “command” countable or uncountable?

I am confused, the following examples are from the Oxford dictionary, all from the same entry (2). Why in some cases it is "a command" and in some it is treated as uncountable? ‘he had a brilliant ...
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320 views

Can one reminiscence comprise many items?

Can a reminiscence hold many items? Example sentence: A reminiscence I'll never forget are the days I started noticing her.