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Questions tagged [countability]

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

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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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25 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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“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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54 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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55 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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64 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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32 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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30 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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17 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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45 views

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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52 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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“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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144 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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384 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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994 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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60 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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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.
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848 views

“oil” VS “oils” [duplicate]

Today’s hair care products, typically shampoos, usually incorporate natural oil for better smoothness. Today’s hair care products, typically shampoos, usually incorporate natural oils for better ...
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46 views

What is the rationale for inserting 'a' before the noun 'value'?

Please kindly read the example: The Company shall not submit tender for new business having a value of less than some specific amount. However, when the noun 'value' is used to mean how much ...
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240 views

When is “dress” a mass noun?

I find the singular/uncountable usage of "dress" strange in this sentence. Expansive skirts on fashionable dress of the period proved the perfect blank canvas to showcase chintzes lush with ...
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The countability of “memoir” and “stocktaking” in this sentence

I find two nouns in this sentence from a Time article very strange. The Atlantic columns are enriched with personal memoir, and a stocktaking, as Coates takes the reader through his own life and ...
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How to ‘guess’ if a noun is countable or uncountable?

Not all the time I have access to dictionaries. In school, I learned that abstract nouns are not countable; however, English is an ever-evolving language and nothing can be so certain here including ...
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46 views

Should “food” be considered many items or a single item in the following sentence?

Speaker A: I'll go buy some food at 7-Eleven. Speaker B: Wait what about those/the one I bought? (sushi, rice balls, and instant noodles) In this case, should food be considered a single item (...
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264 views

“paint”: mass noun vs count noun

Jackson Pollock dropped paints on canvas seemingly at random. (Source) I have always thought the noun "paint" is uncountable when referring to color/colored liquid/solid pigment. But the above ...
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456 views

Amount or number of books

While writing an essay, I discovered that my MacBook Ru-En dictionary suggests using amount speaking about books: So, that is what I have in my text: I state again that reading a lot has big ...
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79 views

“A couple of weights” Is it grammatical to use “weight” as a countable noun?

I heard a line in the movie The Reluctant Fundamentalist Looks like you picked up a couple of weights, too, huh? The speaker of this line apparently suggests that the other party has gained weight....
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Should the number of the object “colleges” follow the number of the subject?

In this sentence: We lost contact since we entered colleges. Should "colleges" be in the plural form, since these two persons entered two different colleges?
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51 views

Conscience - when is it countable noun?

The dictionary says ‘conscience’ can be both countable and uncountable noun. Then when it should be written with article ‘a’? “The best equipment ... is a conscience, common sense and health. ... ...
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1answer
50 views

themselves (singular or plural)?

This is the sentence I came across, it's from a game. While Dwarven cannon were being loaded, others armed themselves with Elven steel and mail. To my understanding, themselves is a plural word, ...
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6k views

Can “staff” ever be pluralized?

I am under the impression that the word staff is uncountable/singular when referring to a collection of employees in a company. This is corroborated by some online sources I have found: Macmillan and ...
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1answer
39 views

Is “I'm on them” a valid phrase?

When I'm working on some issue or bug, I say "I'm on it" to let others know that I'm working on it. Can I say "I'm on them" if I'm working on multiple issues? Or do I still need to say "I'm on it" ...
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“A fear of something” vs “fear of something”

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, the word "fear" is both countable and uncountable. So, when referring to the fear of flying, can I say: I have fear (uncountable) of flying?
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170 views

Isn't “fog” uncountable when referring to a weather phenomenon?

I came across an example sentence on Merriam Webster: a climate marked by heavy fogs Isn't fog a noncount noun when used to refer to weather, according to the Cambridge Dictionary. The ODO and the ...
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1answer
59 views

Is it “human and physical capitals” or “human and physical capital”?

I am writing an essay that has this clause: Due to the flight of human and physical capitals as a result of lower transportation costs,... It gave me a pause because I realize "capital" in this ...
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31 views

The countability of “champion”

I saw two sentences on Google and on the Oxford Dictionaries, under the definition of "cap": "he capped a memorable season by becoming champion" (Google, which should be getting its content from ...
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65 views

Shouldn't it be “sagas and song”?

I find this sentence from a book odd: Their flimsy settlements consequently were soon abandoned, and their discovery was forgotten, except in Scandinavian saga and song. According to both the ...
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143 views

Impact, countable or uncountable?

This assumption has a negligible impact on the study. This assumption has negligible impact on the study. Which one between the two above sentences is correct ?
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49 views

“Ties with industry” or “Ties with the industry”

Is it correct to say: The school has strong ties with industry. Should the definite article precede "industry"? In order to make this question more clear: I think there's a couple of things at ...
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1answer
47 views

Premodifying adjectives and proper noun countability

Secondhand PC hardware is incomparable with brand new Raspberry Pi. In this sentence, is it correct to say brand new Raspberry Pi without making it countable? That is, a brand new Raspberry Pi or ...
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40 views

“the idea of consequence” or “the idea of a consequence”?

I came across a sentence in an online dictionary: [R]ather, it should be used to convey the idea of powerful, dramatic consequence. Why is it not the idea of a powerful, dramatic consequence? ...
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205 views

Singular vs. plural in the object of this sentence

These two sentences appear on the same page of an online dictionary. Possessive pronouns are pronouns that demonstrate ownerships. Possessive pronouns include my, mine, our, ours, its, his, ...
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48 views

their wrath or their wraths?

When talking about a group of people, e.g. project managers, which of these is more correct: Project managers are generally goodhearted, but here's a list of things you should avoid doing lest you ...
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1answer
46 views

More than one baggage is allowed or more than one baggages are allowed?

which is correct? More than one baggage is allowed or More than one baggages are allowed
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1k views

“no such thing” or “no such a thing”?

"thing" is a countable word. (source). But I can frequently find both no such a thing ... and no such thing as ... Which one is correct?
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60 views

Shouldn't the word “confection” here be plural?

Came across a sentence here: Unlike most blockbuster confection, the success of Bond depends on relevancy If I am not mistaken, confection is a count noun. Shouldn't it be "unlike most blockbuster ...
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As a reply: There isn't any - referring to a singular countable

I know there are plenty of threads about any + singular countable. I believe this one is a little different. There isn't a chair here. If we don't want to use one of these: Indeed there aren't ...
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33 views

Why there is no indefinite article in this case?

My workmate, who is a native speaker, sent this email the other day: John and myself had birthdays in the last week, and as a result there is cake in the kitchen for those who would like some. I ...
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60 views

Should “materials” and “processing agents” be plural or singular after “any” in this sentence?

The products do not come into contact with any materials or processing agents that contain gluten. VS. The products do not come into contact with any material or processing agent that ...